Peter's Wildlife Update

With February coming to an end there is a spring feel about the countryside. Great Tits and Mistle Thrushes have been singing for nearly a month now and recently the Song Thrushes have returned from their Mediterranean winter and joined Chaffinches in an chorus indicating things are about to improve. Some birds such as Rooks, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws are already in attendance at their nest sites. Shortly Oystercatchers will return from the coast and the daffodils will start blooming and winter really will be over.

 

 

The list of birds seen on the course exceeds sixty but we have three new ones to add to the list all associated with the new pond. Moorhens and Mallard are often seen there. During the winter a Water Rail was flushed from the margins of our new pond, where Tufted Ducks were occasionally seen. We have a new resident, however, a Dabchick or Little Grebe. A single bird is living on the pond at the 7th hoping to attract a mate and those reforming the tees and laying the new turf had good, albeit brief, views of this new and fairly secretive bird to our course.

 

A recent Nature Notes in the Times newspaper by Derwent May well describes this relatively uncommon bird –

 

“A bird that is easily overlooked on lakes and ponds is the little grebe or dabchick. It is a dumpy bird that often hides in reed beds and when it comes out on to the open water constantly dives and swims below the surface. When it comes up from a dive it may first show only its head above the water cautiously looking around before it comes up completely. Little grebes, however, are beginning now to draw more attention to themselves since they have begun to make their spring call, a high pitched whinnying sound that is quite unique on the pond. They are also acquiring their summer plumage. In winter they are mainly dark brown birds with paler cheeks but now their necks and cheeks are turning a reddish chestnut and they are looking much more sleek and handsome. They occasionally puff out some whitish feathers below their tails and then they look very broad in the base. In March they will build their floating nests among the reeds.”

 

On a negative note the Barn Ow,l which hunted along the low ground along the river Deveron, returned to its roosting place at Muiresk with a severed leg and died. It looked very much as though it had been trapped, perhaps in a gin trap illegally meant for a buzzard and was released as the non-targeted bird.

 

I am compiling a list of Flora, Fauna, Butterflies for our website and would be particularly keen to hear of all good things but especially keen to have confirmation that we have Kingfishers on the Turra Burn and the Deveron once more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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