Basin Notes - September 2002

Gem on our Doorstep

Often taken for granted by those whizzing along in their cars, the gem on our doorstep - the Basin - provided a livelihood for people since hunter-gatherers through to salmon fishermen in recent times.

Although altered by man, it remains largely unspoilt thanks to the care taken by those living along the shore. The value is not only in its commercial aspect, but recreational and spiritual, always changing, always the same.

A camera has been surreptitiously recording our swallows nesting in the coves and the blue tit in the nest box. Their industriousness when rearing their fledglings is amazing. Now with their second brood to be fed, the swallows first brood have to help with the parental duties and bring in some food as well.

With a plentiful supply of insects over the salt marsh it has made the task easier and it is always a pleasure to watch the sheer joie de vivre of these birds.

Signs of the encroaching Autumn are there: as well as the barley fields turning golden the lapwings, curlew and oyster-catchers bring their young down from the hills and glens, creating large flocks swirling around the roosts on the Rossie Spit at the high tide.

These local migrants will soon be joined by long dis- tance travellers resting on the Basin, before heading south to the tropics.

We are most fortunate to have such a grand facility at Montrose Basin Wildlife Centre and the time to enjoy the changing seasons and the wildlife. There is always something new to learn and enjoyable company.