"The ornithological Serengeti of Western Europe." That's how the Levenhall Ash Lagoons are described by some. There's no doubt the area is a magnet for twitchers but to me they are a precious green space on the doorstep of East Lothian's biggest town.
At the weekend the Big Nature Festival (what was the Bird Fair) took over part of the Levenhall site. By all accounts it was a success and I hope it returns next year. The Bairn was hugely impressed with the owl pellet dissection class and we loved looking for weevils in the mini-beast hunt.
If the festival returns next year there may be some industrial-scale activity on site as the lagoons complete their journey from ash sludge piles to landscaped wildlife havens.
It's been a couple of years since Cockenzie power station ceased operating so Scottish Power is understandably keen to hand over responsibility for the lagoons and the associated sea wall. The plans to turn the westernmost ash pile into a wet site for wading birds, and the easternmost ash pile into a slightly-squelchy site for plants and bugs, have support from countryside rangers, RSPB and others.
Over the weekend I helped staff the Friends of Musselburgh Links stall at the festival. The amazing Craig Yorkston from Scottish Power talked himself hoarse by explaining the plans to those who stopped by. I was pleased to see plenty of folk signing up to get updates from the Friends group - we're a real mix of interests but all with a central aim of preserving and enhancing what we've got on our doorstep. We should have some events and activities in the pipeline. Our AGM is at the end of August so I hope to see some new faces.
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The Serengeti may have prides of lions but Levenhall has the Cuckoo Bumblebee and the Marmalade Hoverfly! Small is beautiful, after all.