RSPB Vane Farm, Loch Leven

We took a drive out to Loch Leven, near Kinross today to get some fresh air. I haven’t visited since they re worked the carpark (now a pay and display for non-members by the way).

They have a much larger feeder area now which is well worth walking around for the common woodland birds. Nothing rare or unusual but was nice to get brief views of Treecreeper and Greenfinch along with the more common tits and finches.

Treecreeper

Chaffinch’s were very active giving their “pink pink” call. I always think of it as the male replying to the question, “what colour are you?” but the females have the same call too but not the same colour.

Nice pink Chaffinch on a branch before approaching the feeder

There were lots of Goldfinches too both in the branches but also coming to the feeders in big numbers.

We did also see some Greenfinches too but not close enough to photograph. Walking to the right as you arrive you can go through a small gate and come to some more feeders behind a screen. Here we were pleased to see several Red Squirrels around – always a pleasure.

Red Squirrel’s are the cutest

Below the feeders Blackbird and Dunnock were feeding along with a few Chaffinches. Some of these Blackbirds are probably migrants that come from the continent in the winter, there was a big influx about a month ago of birds joining our local residents.

Female Blackbird
Dunnock,

A constant stream of Tits were coming and going from the feeders too – in order of size Coal, Blue and Great. The smallest is the Coal Tit quite acrobatic hanging off the feeder.

The Coal Tit would make a sharp exit if the Blue Tits turned up.

Lovely Blue Tit (probably male?)

but then would have to give way to any Great Tits that took their turn at the feeder. A very clear pecking order among birds.

Female Great Tit

Moving through the reserve we headed down to the hides. As an aside the new paintings on the steps are lovely and well worth stopping to appreciate particularly on the return when they appear whilst you are still in the tunnel. Very much brighten up the place.

At the first hide there was nothing nearby within photography range. But with the scope looking out to the Loch we could see Mute Swans, Mallards, Goosander, Teal, Goldeneye, Tufted Ducks, Coots, Black-Headed Gulls and Cormorants.

A magpie perched in the top of a nearby tree.

Magpie

We carried on to the second hide and three Buzzard were soaring near the ridge. Their mewing calls were heard before we saw them. A kestrel hovered over the field.

At the distant hide there were quite a few Mallards and Teal but also a couple of Goldeneye and a lovely male pintail. The pintail was especially beautiful through the scope but too far to photograph.

Mallard (foreground), Teal (background)

Just then a white flash caught my eye and a Little Egret flew over. I manage to get a couple of photos.

It circled around and then came into land stretching its wings before adopting its normal posture.

Walking back to the carpark we saw a Grey Heron too stalking the marsh.

Grey Heron

After returning to the car we got good views of a Buzzard on the ground.


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