Loch Turret

Heading further east today, beyond the south end of Glen Quaich, we went to Loch Turret reservoir. Passing through some stunning scenery we eventually headed up to the high moorland loch with its dam. The area around the dam was full of meadow pipits, curlews were calling all around, and I did hear (but didn’t see!) a red grouse.

I was surprised to find a thriving colony of common gulls here – no reason why they shouldn’t be, I just wasn’t expecting it. We saw several on nests quite close to the path along the loch.

A common gull on eggs

The other commonest species was stonechat, but sadly I didn’t manage to see a whinchat so still no new bird species this week. At one point a red kite floated overhead: I remember, as a teenager, when these birds were restricted to a small area of mid-Wales, so it’s remarkable to see how far they have spread following successful re-introductions in the 1980s.

Brendas writes: “Today we had a walk at Loch Turret, a man-made reservoir for hydro-electric power. The serious walkers headed off and the bird, moth and flower nuts lagged behind. James headed up the hillside through the heather, Steve was looking at birds and I was head down looking for flowers. There were so many stonechats feeding young and although the loch is man-made, the valley is beautiful.

Loch Turret reservoir

Meanwhile the flowers were typical of a heathland habitat.

Typical heath flowers: heath milkwort (blue), tormentil (yellow) and heath bedstraw (white)

There were two new flowers today, real crackers, starry saxifrage and marsh lousewort.

starry saxifrage
marsh lousewort

On the way home I got my first thistle identification of the year, appropriately meadow thistle which is the national emblem of Scotland.”

New species for June 7th:
Flowers: meadow thistle, starry saxifrage, marsh lousewort