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Seeing 21 different species in one place.


Last Saturday me and Dad went for a walk in the evening around two lochs quite near my house. Dad had gone the previous day, and seen loads of wildlife, and we went back to try another look at one of the birds he saw. This week is really about how much wildlife you can see in one walk, although I'm will write the wildlife Dad saw on his walk as well.

The lochs are called the Upper Rhynd and Lower Rhynd. They are next to one another, and water runs between the upper to the lower loch. Those two lochs, and another one nearby called Carsebreck are famous for thousands of geese coming to them over the winter from Iceland.

Here is a map of where we walked:

Even before we left road we had seen rabbits, swallows and jackdaws in the fields. It was late in the evening and the lochs looked lovely.

As we were walking up Dad spotted a wing in the grass. It was a buzzard skeleton ! I took the feet and the skull, which had the lower jaw.

The main path goes round the south side of the lochs. There are bushes on either side and birds lying about. Dad saw this bird, and I think it is a skylark.

The day before Dad had been out in the morning, and there was a high part of the path when he was really lucky. First he saw an osprey overhead, then he saw one of the local red kites.

It was only there for a few minutes and it was flying against the sun so he didn't get a very good picture of it, but it didn't seem to have the wing-tags that most red kites have. After he photographed it, he stopped to have a look on the back of the camera, and he got an extra surprise. A stoat ran across the path in front of him with a dead mouse in its mouth !

We didn't see the stoats or red kites on the second walk, but we could see lots of birds on the loch. These were female mallards (like in the picture below) and there were lots of them around. There were lots of tufted ducks as well.

This is a Canada Goose, and there were about a dozen of them. They can be very noisy.

As we walked up towards the wood at the end of the second loch we could see buzzards who flew around noisily as we got near their nest. The nest was easy to spot, and it was very big and very deep.

At the field at the far end there was an enormous flock of lapwings, which are black and white birds that do some amazing flying.

Before we went up right to the edge of the loch, I looked through my binoculars and saw a new bird my dad had told me about. It was a cormorant, which is a large black bird that eats fish. 

It was sitting on a rock at the end of the loch, but by the time we got closer it has flown away.

As we walked out of the wood on the second time, we scared a roe buck who was in the meadow below. There were loads of rabbits around as well, and what looked like another stoat chasing them in the distance.

Sometimes you can walk across the stream that flows of the Lower Rhynd on the west edge, but it was much too deep this time, so we turned around around and walked down the path. Then we saw this small bird in the reeds near the edge. Dad took a picture, then it vanished under the water, and came up again about twenty feet away. It kept doing this until it was on the other side. It was a Small Grebe. (I saw a Great Crested Grebe on the Upper Rhynd in June)

We were excited because this was a new bird to see, so we took a break on the bank of the loch, and I checked the bird book.

While this happened something interesting happened. There were two emerald or blue-tailed damselflies in front of us, and they were having sex !

After the break we walked up back along the path along the south bank of the Lower Rhynd. The sun was starting to set and it was starting to get colder. Between the Upper and Lower Rhynd is a wide stream, about three metres wide, in which the water flows very fast.

If you look hard enough you can find two planks of wood. The planks don't feel very safe but if you are careful you can use them to get across. The planks are used by people who shoot duck and geese, because there are hides all around the Lower Rhynd, but I don't think they have been used in a while because there are plants and nettles growing out of them.

We walked across the bank between the Upper and Lower Rhynd, and then through the field on the north side which is used for sheep grazing. This is the Lower Rhynd  as the sun was setting.

You could still see butterflies about even though it was starting to get cold.

As we walked along, the osprey flew over. The ospreys will soon be flying south for the winter and we won't see them until next spring.

Dad had seem another bird on his walk but he didn't get a proper look and the photograph he took wasn't very good, but it was good enough to make me think it was a peregrine falcon.

There were one or two gulls flying about too. I think was a herring gull. It was probably more likely a lesser black backed gull or a great black backed gull

The mute swans were the last animal we saw on the loch. They were sheltering in a narrow bit on the north side, and they flew off when we got too close to them.

There might have been other animals we missed. There was a group of RSPB members who went to the same lochs in February and they also saw Wigeon, Goldeneye, Coots, Black-headed Gulls, Shelduck, Teal, Oystercatchers,  Common Gull, Black-headed Gull and a weasel ! That's ten more species than me and dad saw on our walks, but then they didn't see the red kites, the osprey, the peregrine, or the stoat. In total, we saw 21 different species of animal, bird or insect and that was without waiting around too long.

Here is a widgeon in eclipse colours which Dad saw about two months ago in the Lower Rhynd.

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Mori said...

An osprey and peregrine? Wow! It sounds like you get loads of different birds of prey around where you live.

About your herring gull- it has a dark back, whereas herring gulls have a light grey coloured back, so I'd say it is much more likely to be either a lesser black backed gull or a great black backed gull. One way to tell the difference is that lesser b.b. gulls have yellow legs while great b.b. gulls have pink legs. In the photo the legs look pink so this may be a great black backed gull. However the best way to tell (which can't be seen in the photo, but you'll know as you saw it) is the size: a lesser is about the same size as a herring gull, but the great b.b. gull is absolutely huge: I've mistaken them for herons before at a quick glance when I've seen them in flight.

Jake said...

Thank you ! I have changed the post.

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