Guest Blog:Duck Boxes in the Carrick Nature Reserve, Loch Lomond
In this guest blog post, Cameron House Ranger James Elliott tells us about installing new homes for wildlife on Loch Lomond and getting a soaking for his trouble!
Loch Lomond’s ducks may be interested to hear that five new pieces of real estate have become available within the Carrick Nature reserve.
Along with local volunteers Davy Hill and Mitchell Roger, I was busy last week installing duck boxes on the islands of the reserve.
The two large lagoons within the nature reserve are former gravel pits that now form an important habitat for a number of duck species including Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Goldeneye, Goosander and Tufted Duck.
With myself and Davy in a Canadian open top canoe and Mitch in an inflatable dingy, the boxes were ferried to five different islands and tied to sturdy trees. Branches were then cut back to allow a clear flight path for the ducks to enter their new homes.With any luck they will lay their eggs and rear their young within the boxes before the ducklings scramble out the hole and plop into the lagoon.
Goosander, which naturally nest in tree holes, are the species of duck most likely to make use of the boxes, although Goldeneye, who usually migrate to Scandinavia to breed, may also be tempted to summer here if nest boxes are provided.
The operation wasn’t all plain sailing however. During the reconnaissance trip to locate suitable islands, the rough water capsized the canoe, leaving myself and Davy floundering in the loch.
A comical spectacle we must certainly have been, as we trudged in sodden clothes back to the cars. I swear I could hear those ducks laughing…