Ospreys Galore!

The three young ospreys may have fledged but they are continuing to provide great entertainment for visitors to Loch of the Lowes.

Not only do they perch around the trees opposite the hides and fly back and forth to the nest (giving superb views) but they are also honing their fishing skills. We do not expect them to actually catch a fish at this point, but it is a rare sight to watch them splashing into the water before spreading their wings and soaring up into the air again.

The adult female joined the chicks for a while on the nest today when a fish was delivered.  She sat quietly at the edge of the nest for a while then suddenly grabbed it from the fledgling and tucked into it herself. She will be building herself up for leaving on her migration south soon. Whether, like our previous female, she sets off within the first week or so of August, or stays longer, only time will tell.

In the meantime, if you are in the area, now is the time to see 5 ospreys up and flying! A fabulous sight!

Added to this, we are delighted to see at least 7 different red squirrels coming into the feeders at the moment. The weather may be lousy but the wildlife is as amazing as ever.

Just an extra note to say that we have an overflowing box of Lost Property. Have you been up to Lowes and are now missing a lens cap, child’s jacket, spectacles, hat … ? We have a large selection!

Cherry

Visitor Centre Assistant

Posted in Diary 2015 |

Osprey tag, a swoop and a screaming frenzy!

Anyone visiting Loch of the Lowes over the past few days could be forgiven for thinking that autumn has come early, with damp and dreary weather dominating proceedings. Thankfully however, we still have plenty of wildlife to remind us that summer hasn’t passed us by yet at least!

Our young osprey fledglings continue to explore their local surroundings, despite the rather wet conditions. A visitor reported to us this afternoon that they’d been lucky enough to witness two of them in flight across the loch, apparently engaged in a game of aerial tag!  There has also been further evidence of fishing practice as the young birds hone their hunting skills.

Speaking of tags, the latest batches of satellite data for FR3 & FR4 make for interesting viewing. As you can see from the Google Earth generated aerial photos, neither bird has ventured far from the nest at this stage.

FR3 to 28th July 2015

FR3 to 28th July 2015

FR4 to 24th July 2015

FR4 to 24th July 2015

FR3 has been the slightly more adventurous of the two, making at least a couple of short trips; one across the loch to the south of the visitor centre and one northwards in the direction of Loch of Craiglush. It’s still early days though and we would expect to see them exploring more of the local area over the next few weeks as their confidence on the wing grows.

Another reassuring sign that summer hasn’t deserted us entirely yet has been the large mixed flocks of martins (house and sand), swallows and swifts skimming low over the surface of the loch, presumably hawking for small insects that haven’t drowned in the rain. This prompted me to look up the collective nouns for these charming summer visitors: groups of martins are variously known as a “circlage”, “flight”, “gulp”, “richness” or “swoop”? A group of swallows is referred to as a “kettle”, while swifts can be found in “boxes”, “flocks” or my personal favourite, “screaming frenzies”!

Jonathan

Visitor Centre Assistant Manager

 

Posted in Diary 2015 | Tagged , , , , |

Osprey Update 21st July

It’s an exciting time here at Loch of the Lowes, and a real relief to have witnessed all three of our osprey chicks fledging successfully. After its maiden flight on Sunday, FR4 decided to spend most of Monday tucked up on the nest, trying to shelter from the intermittent rain showers. Its siblings however were confident enough to fly further afield in search of cover, perching under the canopy of nearby trees. Since fitting our chicks with satellite transmitters 3 weeks ago, I am now able to share with you the initial movements of FR3, our first chick to fledge on the 12th July. As expected, apart from the odd adventurous short flight it has spent most of its time perched close to the nest, keeping a keen eye out for dad returning with a fish. All of the fledglings are still returning to the eyrie for feeding, but we will soon expect to see them choose their own favourite feeding spot close by.

Satellite data of FR3's first movements © Scottish Wildlife Trust

Satellite data of FR3’s first movements, with the star showing the approximate location of the nest © Scottish Wildlife Trust

Visitors have witnessed our male taking spectacular plunges into the loch whilst fishing, appearing to show the youngsters how it’s done. One chick seems to be a very quick learner, as one of our volunteers captured a very special moment as it took its first fishing attempt in full view of the hide. Our female should be with us for another few weeks, preparing herself for her autumn migration. Our male however will stay in charge of the youngsters, providing food and protection until they are strong enough to migrate at about 12 weeks of age. In the meantime we look forward to watching them practice their flying skills and tracking their movements as they go!

A chick's first fishing attempt © Carolyn Taylor

A chick’s first fishing attempt © Carolyn Taylor

Charlotte,

Perthshire Ranger.

Posted in Diary 2015 |

Technical Difficulties

Just a quick note to apologise for the webcam interruption this morning. Due to a power cut over the weekend we have been experiencing technical problems, but hopefully our clever IT team will have it back up and running shortly.

Thanks for your patience!

Charlotte.

Perthshire Ranger.

Posted in Diary 2015 |

The final fledging and diving practice!

For those of you who haven’t been watching the webcam this afternoon I’m delighted to tell you that our remaining osprey chick has finally fledged the nest. After many days of “helicoptering” and hopping around on the nest FR4 finally plucked up the courage to take the plunge at around 3.35pm.

As if this wasn’t exciting enough, shortly after the fledging, two of the chicks (we aren’t quite sure which but most likely FR2 & FR3) were observed making a number of practice dives into the loch in full view of the hides – a real treat for the lucky visitors who happened to be there at the time! This is very encouraging behaviour to observe at a relatively early stage in the final phase of their development (they’ve only been on the wing for just over a week).

It was a strange sensation to see the nest empty this afternoon for the first time in several months. However, the birds will continue to use the nest as a base to explore from and call in when the male brings a fish to share with them. So keep tuning in to the webcam over the next few weeks!

Jonathan

Visitor Centre Assistant Manager

Posted in Diary 2015 | Tagged , , |

Webcam Interruption

The power went off at Loch of the Lowes last night leading to the webcam going offline. We are relieved to say the electricians have attended and it has been sorted out (fingers firmly crossed). For all those who called the centre, we apologise for not answering. We were dealing with the problem and trying to open before bus parties arrived but in the event it was nearly 11am before the doors opened.  As well as causing a break in the webcam viewing, a power outage means we have no water in the visitor centre for toilets – an essential, I am sure you would agree! This is because our water is from a well and requires an electric pump.

It is a very blustery day but good views are being had of the 4 flying ospreys and FR4, still in the nest. The fact that FR4 has not yet fledged is of no concern, especially given the unusual weather conditions over the last couple of days: torrential rain and high, gusting winds.

The great crested grebes’ nest has suffered from the raise in water level and choppy waves on the loch. Fortunately, although they appear to have abandoned their almost submerged nest, one chick has been spotted, safe and well.

Here’s hoping the stormy weather will pass us by, sooner rather than later!

Cherry

Visitor Centre Assistant

 

Posted in Diary 2015 |