Sunday, 30 October 2016

I spotted this group of Eider Ducks on the old jetty at Petticowick the other day. Although they are elegant birds on the water, and excellent at swimming underwater, they were having a bit of trouble staying upright on the slippery jetty surface.  Lizy.

Eider Ducks Somateria mollissima

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

I caught these beautiful autumn colours on the path to Starney Bay the other day, in between heavy rain showers! Keep an eye out for Waxwings which come over from Scandinavia at this time of year and love eating berries from trees like this. At least one of these beautiful pink birds has already been spotted this year at nearby Burnmouth.


Monday, 17 October 2016

We had a fantastic time with the National Trust for Scotland's Lothian Conservation Volunteer group this weekend. The mission was gorse bashing, a vital task for preserving our wonderful grasslands, and we certainly got a lot done. Unfortunately it was too wet and windy to burn anything we cut, so expect to see a bonfire regularly as we try to burn our way through the enormous amount of gorse that was cut! Thanks again to everyone who came out and gave us a hand (24 people over the whole weekend!). Lizy

Lothian CVs clearing a large area of gorse near the Mire Loch

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

This morning I was down at the Mire Loch with Lizy and our volunteers Bill and Jean. We started off by setting up a siphon to lower the water level in the Mire Loch so we can carry out some more repairs to the dam. Then Lizy, Bill and Jean then went off to do some fence mending and I went for a walk around the loch to check how everything was doing and to put together a "to do" list for our new long term volunteer, Ed, who is starting with us next week. I stepped off the path into the trees to have a quick wee just as a sparrowhawk carrying prey chose to fly through that particular bit of woodland. Talk about being in the right place at the right time, it was there and gone within a couple of seconds! No chance to get a photo, but here is one I have borrowed off the net to give you an idea. Lots of other bird activity down there too - the trees were zinging with goldrests, blackbirds galore and redwings flying over calling too. Then I had a great view of two roe deer springing away across the field as I cam to the top of the Mire Dean.  Who says there's nothing to see here outside the summer months?! Liza.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

24 hours later and you can see that the ink caps are deliquescing nicely. The one at the top left has almost entirely melted into black spore-carrying goo since yesterday morning. Lizy

Shaggy Ink Caps deliquescing nicely

Monday, 10 October 2016

If you happen to be in the reserve car park in the near future then do check out the fantastic display of Shaggy Ink Caps which are growing right beside some of the car parking spaces. They won't be around forever though - this striking fungus spreads its spores by gradually melting, or deliquescing, into a black, inky liquid, and you can see that the top left hand mushroom is already melting away.  Lizy

Shaggy Ink Cap Coprinus comatus

Thursday, 6 October 2016

There have been hundreds of Barnacle Geese flying over the reserve today, migrating south from their breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle, the first we’ve spotted this year.  If you have binoculars you’ll be able to spot that these smart birds are black and white, rather than brown like the Pink-footed Geese which are also flying south at the moment.  If you don’t have any visual aids though, you can still pick out a skein of barnacle geese as they make a very different sound.  Listen out for a short yapping sound, like small dogs barking:  Pink-footed Geese, on the other hand, make a very distinctive, high pitched “wink wink” call:  Lizy
Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis, flying over