Ready to go

Published: 12th April 2012

The new season is almost upon us at Glenloy Wildlife and the first holiday starts this weekend. Thought I better rattle off a few thoughts while I have the chance. As a pre-season starer I took out a group of birders yesterday who had come specifically to watch the Pine Martens at Glenloy Lodge. We went to have a look at the local Blackcock lek, where no fewer than 8 males variously visited and displayed, along with a solitary female, skulking in the background. Other players were a Brown Hare and a passing Woodcock. We successfully found an Otter while the early morning mist was stil swirling, along with Goosander, a distant diver and a range of ducks. A white-winged gull (adult Iceland) was pointed out to me, for which I am very grateful – I must remember to look at gulls more carefully. This was due reward for sending them in the direction of Osprey and Black-throated Diver the previous evening. The Osprey was carrying sticks, so looks like it is attempting to rebuild its lost nest. Later they also saw what was presumably another bird flying north up the Great Glen from the comfort of the Lodge sunlounge – hopefully the first bird’s mate. The Pine Marten also dutifully arrived in good time and performed for them. Unually, we also saw another marten that dashed across the road the following morning.

Later that day I took Angela and a son to Loch Leven, where they kayakked towards the narrows. They missed seeing the seal that dived in front of them, and also the pair of Red-throated Divers that landed behind them (in beautiful summer plumage), but did paddle amongst the Tysties. We saw a late Slavonian Grebe near Cuil Bay last week, still in winter plumage from the comfort of the car, so perhaps there is no need ot be on the water!

Migrants are still very slow to arrive – I have yet to hear the first Willow Warbler, and was also told that they have not appeared in Yorkshire yet either. There are flocks of Meadow Pipits everywhere, however, so surely it cannot be long before the warblers start to appear – at this rate the Swallows will beat them to it. One sure sign of Spring is that the Wood Anemone is now flowering everywhere – large white clumps by the side of the A82. The Cuckoo Flower on the verges between Lochaber High School and Corpach is very impressive this year, and conversely, about a fortnight earlier than last year.

Following the semi-tropical conditions before Easter we are now back to normal April weather conditions, with Aonach Mor covered in fresh snow. There may not have been skiing at Easter, but there will certainly be some opportunities this weekend. Hopefully the cold has not arrived to soon to disrupt early nesters, including our local Sea Eagles.