Basin Notes - July 2004

New look Wildlife Centre has lots to offer

THE refurbishment of the SWT centre at the Montrose Basin was finally opened to the public last Tuesday.

Along with the centre being upgraded the surrounding grounds are being well looked after and improved by several hardworking volunteers who twice a week give up their time to maintain the shrubs and other plants adjacent to the centre and car park.

Although the schools are on holiday, the teacher/naturalists are still being required to look after several "children's activities" such as Mud, Glorious Mud on July 21, Art In The Outdoors on July 28 and Bugs And Slugs on August 4.

The relatively new pond dipping station has been used on a few occasions by supervised youngsters.

The new World Of Tides exhibition is a must to come and see, especially for families. The activities of the animal and plant life associated with the basin is graphically explained in an interesting and modern way with several "hands on" displays.

Some of the interesting wildlife experiences recently have included the arrival of a Ruddy Shelduck which should normally be a few thousand miles east of here, but may have escaped from some ornamental wildfowl collection.

Ospreys have been seen fishing for flatfish in the basin - possibly parent birds teaching youngsters how to fish.

Last but not least was the spectacle of an adult Moorhen which jumped up to catch a young Sand Martin popping its head out of the nesting burrow and killed it in order to feed its three chicks.

July is the month when many of the failed northern breeding waders start to head south and make use of the abundant food supplies in the basin.

Greenshanks and Black-tailed Godwits as well as the commoner Dunlins, Golden Plovers and Curlews all gather at the basin, perhaps just to stock up for a further journey southwards or even settle down down for the rest of the summer into the autumn.

Other activities coming up at the centre are a photographic display, A Naturalist's Travelogue, Family Fun Day on August 22 and a Wildfowl Identification afternoon on August 29.