Evening walk at Morton Lochs

Nineteen members gathered in the Morton Lochs car park at 7pm on a lovely sunny and warm evening. Quickly a treecreeper was spotted working its way up a trunk. We set off for the first hide down what I like to call ‘butterfly alley’ as it has a variety of wild flowers which attract insects of all kinds and almost immediately we came upon a northern marsh orchid. At this time of day it was quieter of course but we saw both orange-tips and green-veined whites as well as several species of moth, including silver-ground carpet and brown silverline. There were swallows, house martins and swifts flying high and robins, wrens and chiffchaffs calling, as well as yellowhammers, blackbirds and goldfinches in the bordering shrubs. A great-spotted woodpecker flew over, and a buzzard chased by some carrion crows. At the end of the path, where there are more trees, some long-tailed tits were seen. We took turns to go into the hide but there was very little on the loch – just a couple of mallards.

We headed back to the second hide on the other side of the car park, seeing chaffinches and goldfinches on the way, but here again there was not much bird activity – more mallards, this time with ducklings, a few coots and tufted ducks in the distance.

As we made our way down to the last two hides we heard goldcrest and willow warbler singing along with more chiffchaffs. A little grebe was feeding on the loch and we also saw a moorhen and mute swan with a reed bunting dashing across the reeds at one point. While searching the loch with our binoculars we were entertained by a blackcap singing nearby.

We decided to walk on to the more open area before heading back but the only additional species were a grey heron and jackdaw. As we walked back on the circular path some of us took a short detour into what is left of the woods to inspect the damage done by Storm Arwen and we were treated to a brief but excellent view of a rather startled jay.

Although there was no great excitement on the birding front, everyone agreed it had been a very enjoyable evening.