Hey there :-) Welcome to the beginning of summer at Cullaloe! :-) How do we know that it is getting to be summer at long, long last? The arrival of migrants has begun! And boy are they making their presence felt!
But first, the big news about a big bird! No... not the 8ft tall yellow one from Sesame Street... ;-) We are talking Osprey here! Yes, here - at Cullaloe! :-)
There are a couple of very regular visitors to the reserve (human this time) and one of them very kindly text Grahame yesterday to let us know that they had spied an Osprey making for our loch in search of a wee afternoon appetiser! This is brilliant news as we regularly make trips up to Loch of the Lowes (SWT Reserve) and Loch Garten (RSPB Reserve) to see these magnificent birds of prey! :-) For anyone who doesn't know their osprey from their buzzard, the osprey is similar in size to a buzzard, but it is essentially black and white all over. The top of its head is white with some speckled areas, the wings are black and the chest is white again, with a speckled bib at the front. The osprey also looks like a bit of a punk with a funky spike going on at the back of its head! ;-) If you are wondering what the buzzard looks like now - first suggestion is to visit the reserve and take a gander up the gorse slope towards the telegraph poles, where you can see one personally 9 times out of 10! ;-) If you can't make it along, buzzards are a very rich milk-chocolate brown all over, with some gold-brown mixed through. They have a black curved beak in the usual bird of prey style, but with a yellow nostril-cover that makes it look quite distinctive.
Although Grahame and I were obviously disappointed not to see the osprey personally, we were chuffed to bits that Ian and his wife took the time to let us know that the appearance had been noted. Thanks very much guys and we'll see you on the reserve again soon!
Now, apart from an Osprey making a pit-stop at the Little Chef that is Cullaloe Loch, we also have a new stream of more long-term visitors arriving. They are mostly of the LBJ (Little Brown Job) crew, but they also have their own distinctive features. First to arrive was the Chiff-Chaff which can be heard all over the reserve, but likes to hang out at the side of the loch nearest the sheep pasture mostly. Next arrival was the Willow Warbler (Grahame's favourites!) and they can be heard and seen every step of the way through the reserve! They are one of the most melodic singers of the LBJ crew - very beautiful indeed. We are also playing hosts to swallows as of the tail end of this week. These cheeky chappies are swooping about over the filterbeds, the loch and most of the areas in between! Best chance of sighting these is basically to look upwards! This morning was the turn of the first whitethroat of the year which has taken up residence as usual in the trees around the filterbeds! :-)
So, getting to be a busy wee place, with birds of all shapes and sizes moving in to their summer addresses. Make sure you take time to go and check them out before they check out of Hotel Cullaloe! ;-)