Welcome to the news for June.
Summer is here, the reserve is humming with life and signs of breeding are everywhere. The wildflowers are looking great and the Hawthorn is in full flower. A dry end to May and some sunny but windy days have given a nice clarity to the air and fresh feel to any visit. Breeding bird surveys showed up some nice records and butterflies are beginning to show in numbers. A great time for a visit. Here are May’s highlights:
Breeding: All over the reserve now with Skylark, Reed bunting and Sedge warblers dominating the river and estuary edges with a smattering of Blackcap and Whitethroat too. The Heronry gave a return of 11 pairs this year and juvenile Mallard and Eider are popping up. Even the Links Trusts woodchipper has been taken up by a pair of Pied wagtail with 4 young on 31st, much to the dismay of the grounds staff.
A pair of Stonechat with 2 juveniles on 18th, a pair of Whitethroat and Reed bunting on 16th. 1 pair of Reed bunting with 2 juveniles on 23rd.
Motray and Guardbridge:
Tree Sparrow, Reedbunting, Sedge and Willow warbler, Yellowhammer and House martin all nesting here by 17th.
The pools have been slowly filling again following the work, 11 singing Skylark, 2 pair of Starling with nests and a pair of Grey partridge on 11th.
A pair of Goldcrest, 6 Sedge warbler, 19 Skylark, 12 Willow warbler, 2 pairs of Mallard, a pair of Swallow with nest, a pair of Mute swan and 3 pairs of Moorhen on 15th. Out on 17th a pair of Pintail, 4 pairs of Stonechat with 2 juveniles and a pair of Little grebe with 5 juveniles.
WeBS (Estuary Count) 6th: wader and wildfowl numbers are now low as expected. 61 Common scoter, 42 red breasted merganser and 2 Razorbill offshore. A single Whimbrel, 2 GC grebe and 15 Ringed plover were the highlights.
: Recorded on 4 out of 31 days. Word from the wood is 2 juveniles this year.
Eden Centre: Some nice records and some very quiet days too. 2 Great crested grebe recorded on and off all month and displaying. 25 Mute and 2 Whooper swan on 12th. A single drake Shoveller and 2 Tufted duck on 10th. 16 Goosander on 26th. Osprey present 17 days with 3 on 22nd. A lone Kestrel on the same day. Common sandpiper showing up on 17th and Kingfisher on 29th.Blackcap singing at the centre most days and a single drop in from Garden warbler on 16th. Young Tree sparrows noted around the centre. The feeders have been ‘attacked’ by nesting crows nearby, they may be left unfilled.
Bird of the Month
A welcome record of a pair of these handsome, tiny grebes out at Goosepools on 17th May. 5 juveniles was a great spot. A truly characterful waterbird also known as a Dabchick, that is great to watch. Breeds on inland water bodies and can be shy in summer, less so in winter. Good luck to them as they have some large neighbours to look out for.
• Opening Hours 9am-5pm
• The Centre Car Park: Work continues across the car park, access is still possible. Please follow site instructions to reach the centre. Park on Main Street.
• Visitor Handbook 2016: £1.
• Coble Pools: Work has been all but completed and the pools are slowly filling now.
• Fulmar Fridays: RSPB are holding a series of events at the sea cliffs along the St Andrews coastline by the Castle, highlighting this wonderful seabird. See RSPB website.
• St Andrews BioBlitz 2016:Pop along on Saturday June 4th for a fest of wildlife recording, watching and finding out what is around and about East Sands, St Andrews. 11am-4pm. Pop up and say hello!
• Alex Watt Memorial Fund: Anyone wishing to give a little to the fund are encouraged to do so. Please pass on donation to the ranger or post in an envelope marked for the fund in the door donation slot. This fund will be used for a single memorial project at the centre that will hopefully benefit all for time to come
• Breeding Birds: It’s that time of year, please go carefully around the reserve and keep your dog on a lead where asked to do so.