After several dramatic storms over the last week, we are relieved to say that there has been no serious damage to the Loch of the Lowes reserve or Visitor Centre. Instead of lashing rain and high winds, we are now being treated to blue sky and sunshine sparkling off snow and ice.
The loch, as you can see from the photos below and on the webcam, is almost completely frozen. It is looking stunning with a good covering of snow on top but the goldeneye and tufted ducks are making use of a small area of open water. The sight of mallard ducks stumbling and sliding as they run about on top of the ice is the cause of much hilarity amongst visitors!
New Season - if you or anyone you know would like the opportunity to work at Lowes, please have a look at the Job vacancies page on the Scottish Wildlife Trust website. Seasonal positions are now being advertised, both for the reserve and in the Visitor Centre.
The weather forecast for the coming week is for even lower temperatures (it is minus 4 degrees C here at the moment – warranting a 3 fleece rating!) and the feeding station is full of woodland birds and red squirrels. It is very important to keep feeders filled during these bitter spells and also to ensure there is fresh water available.
Please come up and enjoy some ‘warm winter wildlife watching’ in the visitor centre, open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Today, Loch of the Lowes is alternately shimmering in brilliant sunshine and then flattening beneath pounding sleet and hail stones. Rainbows and dramatic cloud effects are delighting the brave, warmly dressed people who are visiting the hides (the Visitor Centre is closed today) and from time to time snow showers attempt to make the ground as white as the distant hills. A changeable day!
For those of you who remember our ‘fleece-ratings’: this is a 3 fleece, with intermittent white fleece warnings.
With all our thoughts now focused on the year ahead, we are very excited about our ongoing and upcoming projects in the Trust.
The Scottish Beaver Trial results await the decision from the Scottish Executive, Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels requires constant, vigilant support from members, volunteers and staff alike to continue its good work. As well as taking care of 120 reserves, contributing to the Scottish Wildcat Conservation Action Plan, the Living Landscapes initiative and fighting for protection for Marine habitat and endangered species, we are also planning a full schedule of talks and activities in our Visitor Centres.
As you may have seen in the news, our Chief Executive, Jonny Hughes, is calling for the reintroduction of the Lynx. He said, “It is important that we all understand the potential benefits of bringing back the lynx to our woodland ecosystems, but also to our forestry and tourism industries. At the same time we should understand the challenges that this beautiful once native cat will bring with it.”
What would you like to see the Scottish Wildlife Trust do for Scotland? Please take a moment and consider the question and let us know? (I am trying to add a link here to take you directly to the survey on this website but technology is flatly refusing to play fair! Apologies if this does not work!)
In the coming weeks and months, we look forward to meeting the new seasonal rangers and discovering what this year will bring. Will our famous female osprey, Lady, return? If she does, it will be her 25th year at Loch of the Lowes. Will her mate return? Whether we are protecting our usual breeding pair or a new ospreys, will there be chicks? And if so, will they fledge successfully? Exciting times!
Have a wonderful, safe and satisfying 2015, thank you for your support and let’s make this a great year for conservation!
It has been a glorious week-end at Loch of the Lowes! Clear blue skies, crisp white snow and frost sparkling to the top of every tree! A perfect Christmas Card scene.
While Fallow Deer roamed the reserve, eyeing visitors with curiosity, children learned interesting facts about them by taking part in our Deer Trail Quiz. This is a great time of year to be out and about and it was lovely to meet so many walkers enjoying the countryside.
On the loch, we have been treated to (among others) Mute Swans, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Wigeon and Goldeneye. While at the feeding station, red squirrels delighted us with their agility, almost flying through the high bare branches before rushing down the tree trunks, headfirst, to skilfully lift the lids of the nut feeders and grab a tasty morsel. Mallard ducks and pheasants kept a hopeful eye out for any scraps dropped by the host of woodland birds, vying with each other for nuts and seeds.
Not only were the Great Spotted Woodpeckers hammering away at the peanut feeders, they were also drumming in the woods! A bit early? Maybe, but they made a wonderful addition to the sound of birds chattering among the white landscape, gilded by the very low rays of the winter sun.
Please remember - we are open next week-end, Saturday and Sunday 10.30am-4.00pm.
From all of us at the Loch of the Lowes, we wish you a very happy, safe and healthy New Year and hope to see you in 2015!
This weekend sees the passing of the “Winter Solstice” – the astronomical phenomenon which brings the shortest day and the longest night of the year, when the sun’s daily maximum elevation in the sky is at its lowest.
Around the world this event is interpreted in a myriad of ways, but many cultures regard it as a time of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.
At Loch of the Lowes we will be marking the occasion with our Winter Solstice Family Fun Days. Throughout the weekend there will be a whole host of children’s activities and quizzes highlighting how the darkest days of winter affect wildlife. The event is FREE with all activities provided as part of the normal visitor centre admission charge (£3.50 Adult, £2.50 Concession, £7 Family, Children & SWT members FREE)
It has definitely felt more like winter on the reserve over the past week or so as temperatures dropped and we had the first snowfall. Bird activity at the feeding station has increased significantly and we’ve been seeing large flocks of Siskin & Long-Tailed Tits flitting about in the tree tops beside the hides. We’re still waiting for the first Brambling to arrive; they’re unusually late appearing, perhaps in response to the relatively mild conditions we’ve experienced so far this winter (and in Scandinavia where they come from?). Much to our delight we’re also beginning to get more regular sightings of our red squirrels which have been largely absent over the past couple of months due to a glut of natural food sources (particularly beech mast).
The Visitor Centre is open over the weekends after Christmas and New Year (but not the Fridays) so if you’re wanting to get outdoors for a nature fix after days of overindulging and watching telly then head down to Loch of the Lowes. There’s plenty to see and you’re always guaranteed a warm welcome.