With the clocks changing last weekend it also marks a time of change on the Reserve. The Ospreys have now arrived back on the Bay and have already been seen fishing off Findhorn village.
In the last few days Sandwich Terns have also returned from their over-wintering grounds in southern Africa. Look out for them sitting on the buoys off the piers.
Out on the Bay numbers of waders are changing. Oystercatchers have started to move inland to their breeding sites, whereas Redshank numbers have gone up as birds moving north stop off on the Bay. A few days ago there were over 1000 feeding on the southern end of the bay. At this time of year we also get large numbers of Ringed Plover and Dunlin stopping off on their journey back to their breeding grounds in the north.
The Pink-footed Geese are still around with nearly 20,000 counted at the dawn roost a few days ago, and many stay here during the day feeding on the salt marsh around the southern end of the Bay. By the end of April most of them will have departed.
In the woods along the River Findhorn there are Chiffchaffs in good numbers singing along with many other woodland birds. It is also a good time to see some of the early flora coming up on the woodland floor before the leaves appear and shade everything out.
There are large areas of Dog’s Mercury, Few-flowered Garlic, Great Wood-rush as well as the first few flowers of Wood Anemone appearing. In amongst them are also some Lesser Celandine, Green Alkanet and Common Field Speedwell.
As well as these native plants in the woods, unfortunately there are also large patches of Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed just starting to appear. These non-native and highly invasive species grow rapidly and quickly crowd out our native plants. Much work is being done to try and eradicate them, but it is an enormous task in some of the woodlands along our rivers.