Thursday, 14 May 2009

News Update - Screen Clean!

Just a quick update for our regular blog-watchers! The screen replacement works have finally begun at Cullaloe main loch! Grahame and I are very pleased to announce that Dave Blair and his Conservation Team have been hard at work since Tuesday, taking down the old willow withy screen that had become so battered and vandalised in recent years, and replacing it with something much more hardy and user friendly! :-)

I haven't seen it personally but Grahame has taken a wander along and reports back that the Team started working from the end that is farthest away from the loch. The first section looks much like you would expect a standard 6ft garden fence to look. It is made up of vertical fence boards set side by side with small gaps between. The screen will continue in much the same way, but with sight-holes at varying levels for all the visitors to be able to peek through and see what our water based birds are up to! :-)

If you happen to take a walk along to the loch in the next few days, keep your eyes peeled for our magnificent swans! They have recently become the proud parents of 7 cygnets! :-) Grahame and I have some concern about the loch being big enough to support that many young, and there is always the chance of one or two being lost to predators along the way, but we are hopeful that the bulk of them will successfully reach maturity! If you have never seen a cygnet before, don't be expecting a miniature version of their beautiful snow-coloured parents! Oh no! Think back into your childhood and the story of the Ugly Duckling. That ugly, grey, scruffy little duckling was actually a beautiful, graceful swan, just waiting to grow up! :-) They may not look like much when you see them, but if you keep coming to visit, you will gradually see the changes take place until eventually they will look like proper full-grown swans wearing dirty jumpers! ;-) They don't get their white feathers until they are a full year old, by which time they will already have taken flight away from Cullaloe.

Other birds are also having their young, so keep looking for ducklings and coot chicks as you scan the loch. Don't forget to look above the surface of the loch too for the swallows who are busy chasing the insects that fly above the water! :-) They like to swoop and twist and swirl in the air in mesmerising patterns - very entertaining to watch! :-)

Hope you are getting out there and enjoying the long-awaited sun! Just don't forget to wear sun cream as the heat can be deceptive when it is so windy!

Take care all!

Reserve Warden