Sunday, 13 March 2016

Linlithgow Loch

It's been several years since I last visited Linlithgow and despite regular rain showers, I had a thrilling afternoon. Sitting pride of place, overseeing the loch and tranquil peel (park) is Linthgow Palace- birthplace of James V and Mary Queen of Scots (Historic Scotland link). 

As usual my interest was veered by the local wildlife as I took a leisurely stroll around the loch. Within minutes I was treated to displaying Great Crested Grebes (Podiceps cristatus)- one of my favourite species! They perform elaborate courtship displays (RSPB video link) before nesting in the reed beds surrounding small sections of the loch. 

Linlithgow Palace (photo Laura Shearer)
Great Crested Grebes at Linlithgow Loch (photo Laura Shearer)
Great Crested Grebes perform elaborate courtship displays (photos by Laura Shearer)
The area is a haven for wildlife such as ducks, swans, geese, grebes and cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo). The surrounding trees were bustling with small songbirds feeding along the ground and singing their sweet melodies. 

Moorhen at Linlithgow (Gallinula chloropus) photo Laura Shearer
It is impossible not to mention the Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) - bold and boisterous they eagerly await a free meal from passersby. Many are colour ringed with unique codes to provide more information on their movements. It is a thoroughly enjoyable task reading these codes to report back to the ringers. If you see a coloured ringed bird in Europe please report it here.

SLY swans at Linlithgow Loch (photo Laura Shearer)

Reading swan colour rings is great fun! (photos Laura Shearer)
Even some of the coots were colour ringed (photo Laura Shearer)

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