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World Wetlands Day

A blog post from the SNH Reserve at Loch Leven reminded me that Friday 2nd February was World Wetlands Day when the importance of wetland habitats is celebrated. Loch Leven is home to thousands of birds and the importance of this loch is recognised in its inclusion as a Ramsar site meaning that has recognition as an internationally important wetland. In winter it is home to many species that spend their summers in the high arctic and in summer it is a breeding site for several species. For more on Loch Leven and its importance see Jeremy Squire’s Blog on the link below, just copy it into your browser.

While anyone familiar with Loch Leven would not be surprised at the recognition it receives, but few may appreciate that the shore flats of Dalgety Bay from the end of the St David’s Bay beach round to Braefoot and beyond, and thus fronting our shore woodlands, is also part of the Forth Ramsar site in recognition of its importance for both local breeding shore birds and those from more northern climes overwintering there. On Friday afternoon as the tide was full there were birds roosting at the end of the old pier near the Sailing Club waiting for the tide to recede so that they could continue feeding.

Apart from the rather obvious Oystercatcher in the middle the larger of the remaining birds are Redshank and the smaller- Dunlin. They are using the rich shore feeding around our part of the Forth to fatten up, many to fly off to other areas for breeding during spring and summer. They may not look very exciting in their rather drab winter colours, but they are an important part of the wildlife of the Forth.

Apart from these wading birds, the main bay round past the sailing club often has visiting Widgeon and Goldeneye already beginning to acquire their breeding plumage.

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