Loch Leven National Nature Reserve
The Loch Leven is a loch which is located within the Loch Leven National Nature Reserve. Being as shallow as what it is, and being a freshwater loch, makes this area extremely attractive to swans, ducks and geese. The Loch Leven also has two islands that are situated in its waters and the Loch Leven Castle stands mystically and proudly on one of these islands. These tranquil surroundings have been protected since the year 1964, when it was declared a National Nature Reserve. The Loch Leven National Nature Reserve is managed and overseen by a dedicated management team of wildlife enthusiasts. They work tirelessly to not only improve visitor facilities at the Pier and at the visitors Café, but also continuously research the wildlife numbers and the impact that the controlled commercial fishing and wildfowling industry has on the environment and the population numbers. Even though the Loch Leven Reserve was created to protect the nature in this area, many locals make a living from fishing and from wildfowling. Both sides work together, so that people are not denied a living and that the populations of fish and wildfowl are not threatened. Another important goal for the management of this Scottish Nature Reserve is to encourage breeding and to maintain the populations of migratory birds to the park.
At present, the Loch Leven Reserve has approximately 1000 breeding pairs of inland ducks and has the perfect environmental facilities such as forage and water, to attract species such as the gadwall, shoveler, teals, mullards, pochards and tufted ducks. The water level of the Loch Leven is perfect for both wading birds in the shallower water, and the diving ducks in deeper waters. Many duck species prefer to nest in the Loch Leven Nature Reserve, as its islands are undisturbed by human activity and the resident colony of black-headed gulls keep scavengers like crows at bay, which often feed on ducklings. Migratory pink-footed geese and elegant Mute Swans enhance the bird populations of the Loch Leven Nature Reserve, which is home to other birds such as sandpipers, redshank, curlew, snipe, oystercatchers, little stints and many more.
The vegetation and plants that are found in the Loch Leven National Nature Reserve decorates the land in spectacular textures and colors. It is also one of the few places in Scotland where Holy Grass can be seen. Blankets of Amphibious Bistort and Yellow Flag Irises color the waters of Loch Leven, while Bogbeans, Northern Marsh and lesser Butterfly orchards are responsible for the vibrant color extravaganza along the shore and in the grasslands. Beautiful Willows, Pines, Birches and other trees break the landscape and provide cover for the other inhabitants of the Loch Leven Nature Reserve, such as bats, owls, voles, deer and rats.
Access to the Loch Leven Reserve is open to everyone, but visitors to the park are requested to respect the rules and regulations of the park, and to respect the birds and animals, upon entering their home.