Apr 17 2020

Nature notes from Portmoak community woods

Our fabulous volunteers from Portmoak Community Woods in Scotland have been keeping each other up to date with their recent wildlife spots whilst out exercising… they would like to share them with you.


‘Hi folks,

Is it just me or do things seem a bit quieter than usual? Since it’s spring there’s a lot going on just now. In the the Portmoak Community Woodland Group we’re keeping each other up to date with sightings. Here are the last few. More will follow!


The Bain Family 15 April

Hi, in the last couple of days, we have seen boxing Hares near Grahamstone, frogs, toads, and frogspawn in the pond near Grahamstone, yellowhammers, deer, and a red squirrel in Kilmagad wood


Alison 14 April

There was a wagtail in my garden this morning but I didn’t have the camera ready, and I also saw a male deer that I think is the same one I have seen for the last two years.   Unfortunately he had a slight limp as he trotted along the path at the side of the field.   I fear he may not last too long.


Mike 14 April

One roe deer 🦌 in Kilmagadwood next to golf course. One wagtail on first fairway.


Dave C 14 April

Elaine just put a bird box this afternoon and 2 blue tits have take up residence how quick is that ??


Karen 13 April

Couple of wrens, willow warbler, 2 herons, yellow hammer, peacock butterfly. I also heard what I thought might be a gull at the sluice gate  as had seen a couple of black headed gulls earlier. However it turned out there was something stuck in my front brake.


Alison 13 April

Re the Mistle thrush, very many years ago, a young lad, among a group of same that I was escorting round one of the ruinous Yorkshire abbeys, pointed out a Mistle thrush to me.   I asked how he could tell it wasn’t an ordinary one, and he said it was more muscly – can you tell me if that is correct, please?

Also some days ago I saw a squirrel on the big oak tree I can see from my dining room window (NE facing), but I forgot to report it to the Red Squirrel people.   There are deer in the Glider field next to me every evening, the most I have seen at once were seven, more frequently there are two or three, some are usually around in the morning also.   Less pleasingly for several days three crows (normally 3 and occasionally 1) tore the fat balls out of their containers in lumps and they even managed to attach themselves to the peanut and seed feeders.   I have ceased offering fat balls and the crows are no longer around.   There is also the odd magpie and this morning on the North side of the house, in a small plum tree there were two chaffinches (I think one was male and the other female) paying no attention to each other but diligently nipping the buds off the branches.   The tree has never fruited so I am not over bothered!   There is frog spawn in my pond – an immaculate conception, I never saw any frogs.


Mike 13 April

Thrush? Mistle thrush?  Grahamstone entrance. Plus buzzard over the moss.


Lesley 13 April

Today’s sighting:  1 red squirrel in  Portmoak Moss, on the ground in the trees on the lower ground not far from the duckboard near the steps. The end of its tail is very light, almost like it’s been dipped in bleach.  

I’m aware that this sightings reporting could get very competitive so I won’t mention the 3 spotted woodpeckers, the pair of grey partridge, the tree creeper, the thrush or the deer.


Karen 12 April

4 herons today, female swan on nest Male keeping a close eye on things, chaffinches,  goldcrest, willow warbler ( I checked out their sound on line) ..pair of mallards and a host of red admiral butterflies…several bumble bees…no sign of woodpecker but it’s the busiest I’ve seen on loch path and moss for a while


Mike 12 April

Wren yesterday in kilmagadwood at the lime kiln.


Stu 12 April

There are now ground nesting willow warblers (and dozens of them) in amongst the birch at the top of the steps nearest the church. We should definitely encourage dog walkers to use leads at this time of year or many of these will be destroyed. 


Angela 12 April

Our garden is on the circuit of a female hare, and we spotted a red squirrel the other day. Skylark singing regularly, curlew calling,  two resident great spotted woodpeckers, and we can hear, but haven’t yet spotted a green woodpecker.


Stuart G 12 April

I don’t know if I told everyone or just Stu but Sheena and I put up 15 or 18 snipe last time we did the dip wells (we lost count). I assumed they were feeding, it says in my book they nest in upland peat bogs, but you never know. I’m sure I saw a couple of Woodcock over by George’s grand canal. If it was quite small it could be Meadow pipit, got a distinctive flight. I’ve been finding the Moss a bit crowded for birdwatching lately. Been getting on the bike to the cut to watch a pair of Goosander that look like they intend nesting.


Duncan and Kirsty 12 April

We a saw a toad yesterday on Grahamstone.


Lesley 12 April

Did we tell you that whilst we were out in the street saluting the NHS on Thursday last I noticed a pair of swallows had re-occupied last year’s nest on the house opposite us?


Stu B 11 April

Willow warblers, chiffchaffs and blackcaps singing at the south end of the Moss towards the gliding field this evening.

House martins have returned to their nesting sites in Scotlandwell. 

And the first of the rooks nests behind the wash house have chicks. Only one nest last year and 17 this year…


Krys 11 April

Pied Wagtail, Red Admiral and Peacock in the garden and a peacock butterfly on the Tetley trail.


Karen 11 April

Out on bike…along the side of the cut towards bridge the 2 swans are nesting again this year, two herons in water one in field opposite. On loch path Lots of birdsong,  couple of chaffinches and lots of others….butterflies mostly red admiral and some fantastic fungi. In the moss lots of birdsong again and just marvel at the mosses


Karen 10 April

Great spotted woodpecker on loch path …


Dave C. 10April

Just saw loads of Swallows at least 10 flying around spring has sprung


Alison, 9 April
I saw a goldcrest in climbing rose in our Kinnesswood garden on Christmas day. Teeny weeny. Had to look it up.


Dave M. 9 April

There is an unusually high number of rooks nesting in the sycamore trees behind the Wash House this year.  



Krys,  9 April

About 50 Pond Skaters on the ditch on the the peat dome. And for the last two nights, bats buzzing around the house.


Stuart G 9 April

Some construction work being done at the cut despite lockdown!  



Lesley, 9 April

Lovely!  I was out extra early this morning and saw a hare running across field at Grahamstone.  My eyes were watering so much due to the cold wind that all I saw was a brown fuzzy thing sprinting to the field edge.



Jeff, 9 April

Seven curlews on the ploughed field just below Kilmagadwood.



Krys, 8 April

Hedgehog droppings at Kilmagadwood.



Dave C, 7 April

I met a couple of mating frogs on the Loch path on my cycle run yesterday



Karen, 6 April

Saw 3 jackdaws on Sunday morning…unfortunately they were in the downstairs bedroom. Good job I’ve practiced finding my way about in the dark…emergency preparedness! So with a beach towel around my head I made my way across the room as they tested their flying skills…which were put to good use as they flew out the window.



Mike, 6 April

I was up at the top of the golf course and nearly stood on a male pheasant who was clearly sitting on a nest. This is usually the females job.  Any ideas. Confused male. Showing off his new nest,…?



Stuart G

Pheasant has a harem so don’t know if he would build a nest. Maybe showing off his territory



Dave C, 6 April

Elaine and I saw 2 swallows on Saturday evening flying past & Tanya from pub also saw them so it wasn’t the beer. Spring is well on its way thank goodness



Jeff, 5 April

Krys saw a hare yesterday in the field below Kilmagadwood. And we saw a couple of red squirrels in the Moss. Herds of deer eyeing up our vegetable patch.



Sheena, 5 April

Is it possible we saw a gold crest in the Moss? Eilidh and I disturbed a tiny wee bird having a bath in a shallow bit of water at the ditch near the cat park entrance. Definitely not a wren but tiny. Didn’t notice the top of its head sadly.



 Stuart B.

 Yeah, the gold crests are there all year round, and a joy to see them not in silhouette for a change! 

 The green woodpeckers and jays are in fine voice too (the Jay sounds horrendous but nice to have them). Almost willow warbler season too 🙂




 Sheena, I’ve spotted gold crest in the trees to the left of the main entrance in the past so there’s a good chance that’s what you saw.



Louise, 5 April 

15 roe deer spotted together close to the Moss in the fields below us – though more often split into herds of 7 and 8. Dave B. saw a grey squirrel yesterday – beside Kilmagad Wood. I’ve seen no reds so I’m glad they’re about. And where are the March hares?



Lesley, 5 April

This morning’s nature notes: Kilmagad Wood – 2 grey squirrels, 2 spotty woodpeckers, 2 roe deer, 1 person (other than me).



Stuart G, 4 April

Well spotted!  I had a Grey Partridge on the neighbor’s shed last week and was sent a pic of a Sparrow hawk sitting on a fence in the middle of Kinross. I think nature’s realised it’s all gone quiet and venturing a bit closer to us.



Lesley, 4 April

Hello Lockdowners,

All this having to go for a walk when no one else is walking the earth has rewarded me with 3 red squirrel sightings including my first ever in Kilmagad Wood, the other 2 on the Moss on the Grahamstone side.  I’ve just put them onto the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels website.’



It’s clear that lockdown and the notable lack of so many people out and about is having a good effect on wildlife. Thank you to the Portmoak volunteers for their sightings. 


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