Wildfife.com

My name's Ben. I live in the Lomond Hills and this is a diary of a calendar year in the wildlife of Fife. Featured blogger for BBC Wildlife Magazine's Local Patch Reporter project.

Ring ouzel and snow bunting on West Lomond

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With the temperature a chilly 7C here in the Lomond Hills today, and with an exfoliating wind, I decided to head on up West Lomond (pictured above) for what can only be described as a ‘bracing’ walk.  The sun was out, so it seemed like a good idea.

And indeed it was!  Because not only did I have a super sunny amble over pathless hills, I also saw two rarities in these parts.

No sooner had I hauled myself up onto the 522m summit of West Lomond, I saw a snow bunting flitting between the ancient cairns.  Clear as day, flashing its white wings as it darted about with impressive agility in what was a steady gale force wind.

It took a bit of stalking and creeping on my part, as it appeared and disappeared at various locations on the summit plateau, but I eventually managed to snap a piccie:

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10 minutes ago a blog post called ‘where have all the kestrels gone?" appeared in my Twitter feed.  It was written by a chap who noticed how he’d recently driven 2370 miles across England and had seen only five kestrels.
They are in decline in many areas, so I’m happy to report that this one (pictured) was sat on an aerial next door not one hour ago. 

10 minutes ago a blog post called ‘where have all the kestrels gone?" appeared in my Twitter feed.  It was written by a chap who noticed how he’d recently driven 2370 miles across England and had seen only five kestrels.

They are in decline in many areas, so I’m happy to report that this one (pictured) was sat on an aerial next door not one hour ago. 

I had another pedal around Loch Leven’s 12 mile trail today, and was treated to a big Loch Leven lift-off of pink-footed geese.
These pics show the ‘before and after’ as the strange, charcoal-like line of geese on the water suddenly filled the sky.  After a few minutes they settled in a field just outside Milnathort.
If you’ve never seen and heard a sky full of honking geese, you haven’t lived ;-)
I had another pedal around Loch Leven’s 12 mile trail today, and was treated to a big Loch Leven lift-off of pink-footed geese.
These pics show the ‘before and after’ as the strange, charcoal-like line of geese on the water suddenly filled the sky.  After a few minutes they settled in a field just outside Milnathort.
If you’ve never seen and heard a sky full of honking geese, you haven’t lived ;-)

I had another pedal around Loch Leven’s 12 mile trail today, and was treated to a big Loch Leven lift-off of pink-footed geese.

These pics show the ‘before and after’ as the strange, charcoal-like line of geese on the water suddenly filled the sky.  After a few minutes they settled in a field just outside Milnathort.

If you’ve never seen and heard a sky full of honking geese, you haven’t lived ;-)

Autumn is here and the Lomond Hills are buzzing!

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Well, there’s no mistaking that autumn has arrived.  After a unseasonably mild and dry September, autumn stormed its way into the start of October……quite literally.

Early yesterday morning I didn’t really get much sleep what with the roaring wind and lashing rain on the window.  A chilly 7C with sustained 35mph winds and a wintry wind chill left us in no doubt summer has finally left these shores.

The summer visitors have long since departed, however.  I’ve not seen a swallow for a couple of weeks, the curlews disappeared weeks ago and the skylarks are nowhere to be seen.

And yet, there is still so much to see in the uplands of the Lomond Hills.

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Grasshoppers….erm….’doing it’

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When I’m out & about in the Lomond Hills I *always* have my camera with me because you never know what you’re going to encounter.  And sometimes, you find the weirdest things.

The other week, while I was out on a walk, I heard some loud ‘stridulation’….which is the technical term for what grasshoppers do when they rub their legs on their wings.

Despite broadcasting their locations grasshoppers are quite difficult to locate in long grass because….well…..they tend to be the same colour as the grass.  When I honed in on the sound…..this is what I found:

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I was soooo elated at seeing a peacock butterfly at home this afternoon, as they’re infrequent visitors to this garden.  Imagine my joy as it fluttered about the driveway, settled on the ground…..and then imagine my horror as it was promptly grabbed by a pied wagtail and used in a tug of war with a robin.  Circle of life, innit.

I was soooo elated at seeing a peacock butterfly at home this afternoon, as they’re infrequent visitors to this garden.  Imagine my joy as it fluttered about the driveway, settled on the ground…..and then imagine my horror as it was promptly grabbed by a pied wagtail and used in a tug of war with a robin.  Circle of life, innit.

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