Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Exciting Developments

It's all been happening on the reserve over the past week or so. So many interesting developments to tell you all about. I had my first advisory group meeting as the convenor of the reserve on Tuesday 11th September. I have to admit, it was very interesting. It felt good to be a part of the reserve, a part of the team that decides on future plans. The water level is to be lowered n the next couple of weeks, when i get the key from Ross, the previous convenor. That should be interesting as we should see some wader interest in the sight. We're already getting Curlews flying over on a daily basis looking for places to land, so it's a safe wager that we'll have plenty of wader activity once the water level is lowered!
The most interesting thing that happened at the meeting had absolutely nothing to do with the meeting itself. Not long after starting the meeting a bird flew across the reserve. My initial thought was that it was a heron. It only took me a few seconds to realise that it was way too big to be a heron. Out came the binoculars, and lo and behold, it was a White-Tailed Eagle! 15 of these had been released in Fife in August as part of a re-introduction scheme between the RSPB and SNH and this was the first sighting of one for everyone in the group. It landed in the field opposite the reserve, sat there for a few minutes then flew off to perch on a fence post at the far end of the field.
After submitting a report of the sighting to the RSPB, including the wing tag detail (In this case, the bird was tagged 'H') i've received word that this bird is a young male, released on the 10th August this year. I was also asked if i could put up some submission forms on site in case the bird should return or anyone make a sighting, so i've added a few of them which can be taken at the willow screen.
I also found out that the male bird in our resident pair of Mute Swans was ringed. After some work between a few of us during the meeting, we got the ring information. Allan, from Fife Council called someone in the know and it appears that the bird was ringed as a cygnet just outside Edinburgh and has since been seen at several locations nearby. It really is good to know where the birds on the reserve are coming from.

On the subject of ringing, it was agreed that Mark, who was at the advisory group meeting would do some bird ringing on the reserve. I got an email from him advising that he would be on site on Friday morning to ring the birds. I took a walk down, when i eventually got up (I'm not really an early morning kinda guy) and he was there with the mist net, collecting and ringing birds. In total throughout the morning he ringed the following:

  • 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • 2 Robins
  • 1 Long-tailed Tit
  • 5 Coal Tits
  • 15 Blue tits
  • 35 Great Tits
That's a total of 59 birds ringed! Quite impressive for a morning's work. I was particularly happy that he got the woodpecker. The woodpeckers on the reserve feel like their my babies, since the introduction of the peanut feeders to the site.
I've included a couple of photos below to show some of the ringed birds.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Long-tailed Tit

With several plans to be implemented for the reserve in the near future, i'm sure i'll be kept busy and there will be plenty of updates on the site. As we're coming into the winter months, more work can be done on the site than would be possible during the breeding season, and everyone is taking advantage of this.

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