Satellite Tracking the Ospreys

A few days ago, our three young ospreys were ringed and this prompted queries regarding whether we would be fitting satellite trackers on them as well.

We will not be fitting satellite trackers. The main reasons are the large expense and relatively limited data collected by using the trackers.

After a tremendous effort by supporters to raise the funds to purchase 3 trackers, we have now used them all. Blue 44 (2012), was the first but his tracker stopped working within a few months. The next was the female Blue YZ (2013) who sadly died in Guinea Bissau. This tracker was retrieved, reconditioned and set ready to be used on future chicks.

In 2014, no chicks hatched at Lowes. Then, in 2015 we were thrilled to have 3 chicks on the nest – but we only had 2 trackers! So, while all three were ringed, one chick did not receive a tracker, FR2.

Our last new tracker and the reconditioned tracker were fitted on FR3 and FR4.

Of these, FR4 is believed dead in Senegal leaving FR3 as the only one still sending data.

Each tracker costs around £3,500, with a further running cost for the data collection of approx £1,000 per year, not to mention the large amount of man hours this takes up.

It has been a very interesting project and we now know for sure our Scottish ospreys migrate to West Africa during our winter.  However, the cost versus the results for conservation do not justify the purchase of new trackers. Like many of you reading this, we have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the travels of these amazing birds.

Remember, you can still Follow FR3 in Gambia.

Cherry

Visitor Centre Assistant, Loch of the Lowes

 

Posted in Diary 2016 | Tagged , , |

An account of yesterday’s ringing

It’s hard to believe that our chicks are already at the right age and size to be ringed – it only feels like yesterday when we were all glued to the camera watching the first chick hatch back in May!

But for the ospreys at Loch of the Lowes, yesterday was the time and thanks to the skills of our ringer it was a brief and successful ringing. LF15 took to the air for a short time, circling as she watched the events unfold beneath her. She then settled in a nearby tree keeping a close watch of her chicks who were all visible in the nest for the duration. LM12 however seemed even less concerned, arriving with a fish for the nest before realising it was currently occupied by a human as well! This didn’t seem to put him off though, as he was witnessed perched in a neighbouring tree eating it himself.

Shortly afterwards, the female returned back to the nest to find all 3 chicks exactly where she’d left them with the addition of a new leg band. The male soon followed, bringing with him the remains of the fish which were offered as dinner to the young ospreys. Normal life soon resumed, with no lasting effects of the brief human visitor!

KP1 protecting siblings

Female KP1 (centre) covering her brother KP2 (right) and sister KP0 (left) © Keith Brockie

We are delighted to be told that the chicks all appear to be a good size and in great condition and based on wing length we believe to have 2 females and 1 male. The females received the rings Blue KP0 and KP1, with the male being KP2.

They still have a few weeks of growing and developing their wing muscles before we hope to witness all three chicks fledge successfully. But now we have an accurate way to identify each individual, we will watch with great interest how each of them progresses through their final months on the reserve.

Charlotte,

Perthshire Ranger.

Posted in Diary 2016 |

Ringing of our chicks

We are happy to announce that late on this afternoon our chicks were successfully ringed Blue KP0, KP1 and KP2. Our ringer did a fantastic job carrying out the work quickly and quietly while both parents remained nearby. The female was the first to return back to her chicks, and our male didn’t waste much time bringing in a fish shortly afterwards.

Our newly ringed chicks © Keith Brockie

Our newly ringed chicks © Keith Brockie

Please check back tomorrow for a fuller account of the afternoon’s events.

Charlotte,

Perthshire Ranger.

Posted in Diary 2016 |

Fish fury!

After rather a long wait today, the female and three chicks were finally treated to an enormous fish brought in by the male, at around lunchtime. Although content for a while, our resident female, true to form, was soon shouting for another fish. The male dutifully soared over the loch, hovered over a promising spot, and unfortunately that’s where his chivalry ended.

Against his better judgement he headed back to the nest empty handed, which promptly resulted in the female shrieking in fury, being heard clearly from the hides. Rather than feeling encouraged to try again, this nagging resulted in him disappearing gracefully into the trees, in search of some peace and quiet!

This may have been a wonderful short term solution for LM12, however anyone in the hides this afternoon is left in no doubt as to the growing hunger of our feisty female! Incessantly calling, she demands that a fish be brought to the nest to enable her chicks to keep growing at the incredible rate they have been since hatching.

Many of you will have witnessed our chicks displaying very ‘adult’ behaviour; wing stretching, preening and even nest tidying! The next milestone to be reached by our three chicks will be when they are strong and proactive enough to claim a fish for their own once it is brought to the nest. At present they rely on the female to grab the fish off the male and tear it into nice bite-sized pieces for them. Soon you will see them rush towards the male, shrieking and wing flapping, endeavouring to snatch the fish for themselves.

I would like to thank all of you who follow our beautiful osprey family, either on the webcam or by visiting our reserve. It really is wonderful to see how much support our ospreys have gathered over the years and I do hope that the webcam, blogs and hides are proving as enjoyable as ever!

Many thanks,
Laura, Visitor Centre Assistant

LF15 looking particularly ferocious ©Scottish Wildlife Trust

LF15 looking particularly ferocious ©Scottish Wildlife Trust

Posted in Diary 2016 | Tagged , , |

Up Close and Personal to a Squirrel!

We are delighted to share these photos of a Red Squirrel, taken by an Australian visitor using the One Man Hide that Loch of the Lowes rents out to photographers.

Red Squirrel @John Tiddy

Red Squirrel @John Tiddy

Red Squirrel @John Tiddy

Red Squirrel @John Tiddy

Red Squirrel @John Tiddy

Red Squirrel @John Tiddy

On another note…. This morning we had a wee baby Robin visiting our offices :)

Chris Cachia-Zammit

Posted in Diary 2016 | Tagged , , , , , , |

Visitors’ Photos

Here are some lovely photos taken by visitors to Loch of the Lowes who have kindly sent them to us to share.

You may remember we had an intruding osprey flying over the nest a few weeks ago which had a Tracker and a Blue ring. While we have not been able to identify the bird, we are indebted to Peter Stasiuk and Alex Gilfillan for their photos of this osprey.

But first –

Tawny owl peeping out of the nest box at Loch of the Lowes © Rick Vaughan

Tawny owl peeping out of the nest box at Loch of the Lowes © Rick Vaughan

a delightful photo of a Tawny owl peeping out of the nest box in the woods around Lowes by Rick Vaughan.

This week-end we are holding our Wildlife at Midsummer Event (both Sat and Sun) but the weather isn’t very summery.  It has poured with rain here for the last two days so hopefully we will soon return to the clear blue skies shown in these photos.

Cherry.

And now the osprey photos …

Osprey fitted with a tracker flying over Lowes © Peter Stasiuk

Osprey fitted with a tracker flying over Lowes © Peter Stasiuk

Osprey over Lowes with a tracker and Blue ring © Alex Gilfillan

Osprey over Lowes with a tracker and Blue ring © Alex Gilfillan

Posted in Diary 2016 | Tagged , , |