Basin Notes - May 2009

Nesting time at wildlife centre

After a wonderful April, May so far has not been quite so good, but that has not stopped the Sand Martins or Swallows nest prospecting at the SWT Montrose Basin Wildlife Centre.

Neither have actually nested yet which is quite late as young Blackbirds have been out of the nest for weeks now, and Starlings are very busy feeding young. We are still awaiting the return of the Common and Arctic Terns, which made use of the raft last year, but it will not be long, as by the 7th of May, all our summer migrants should be with us, including the screeching Swifts which are the last to arrive from Africa.

Some Little Terns have been seen since the last day of April, and hopefully they will have another successful nesting season along the foreshore if the local dog-walkers will stay clear of that area until August.

The good weather of April has really brought on the wild flowers with so many now to be seen including Slender Speedwell, Barren Strawberry, Wild Garlic, Marsh Marigold, Sweet Cicely, Cow Parsley, Bugle and Ground Ivy. Correspondingly, it has been good for butterflies with Small White, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Orange-tip and Red Admiral on the wing.

Look out for another butterfly out and about at the moment, and that is the Comma, which is starting to colonise southern Scotland.

No doubt, you have been awakened by the dawn chorus! Not too long after 0430 at the moment, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrushes and Robins are all in song, and fairly recently I was out listening to them all and noted: 0505 - Blue Tit started; 0507 - Great Tit started; 0508 - Wren started; 0520 - Chaffinch started; 0522 - Pheasant started; 0524 - Jackdaw started; 0530 -Willow Warbler started; 0532 - Coal tit started; 0538 - Blackcap started.

Do not wait too long to get up and out to hear this wonderful chorus, as it does not last very long into the summer.