More wonderful news at Loch of the Lowes as we announce the arrival of our second osprey egg at 2.36pm this afternoon. Our female made the laying look effortless as she gave us little in the way of warning of the imminent new addition. Thankfully our centre was very busy at the time and all of our visitors were delighted to be in the right place at the right time to witness this special event. As I write, the female has settled down to continue the incubation of her expanding clutch. Fingers crossed for egg number 3 soon!
Our female displaying her newest addition © Scottish Wildlife Trust
The excitement of the first egg being laid on Tuesday evening was palpable as Loch of the Lowes staff and volunteers rushed to watch the live video feed to witness the first minutes of parenthood for our new pairing of ospreys. Anxious moments followed as we, and thousands of webcam viewers waited for the female to incubate. These emotions must be akin to those experienced by the pioneers of osprey reintroduction in Scotland nearly 60 years ago. The challenges they faced are not so different now, but thanks to their tireless efforts the odds are now swinging in the ospreys’ favour.
Fish delivery for the female © Scottish Wildlife Trust
Our male has continued to demonstrate his strengths and weaknesses in equal measure. Three large fish were delivered on Wednesday, and a handsome perch arrived in time for breakfast on Thursday morning. The female seems to have regained her appetite after laying, and didn’t hesitate to make off with the catch. However the male is not so proficient at incubation. He spends many minutes fidgeting and rearranging nest material leaving the egg exposed. These moments can be painful to watch, but so far the egg has not been left unattended and only exposed for short spells. Crows are never far away and the birds must be vigilant to protect their charge.
If you spend any time watching the ospreys at Loch of the Lowes, you quickly appreciate how fragile the success of one pair and the Scottish osprey population, still is. The dedication of the devoted osprey parents, the Scottish Wildlife Trust staff, the volunteers and the paying public is truly a labour of love.
Species Protection Officer.
If last night’s “eggcitement” and the anticipation of more to come over the next few days isn’t enough for you, then we have a packed weekend of events and activities coming up.
On Saturday afternoon at 2pm we once again welcome professional storyteller Lindsey Gibb to Loch of the Lowes for the second of our Beatrix Potter reading sessions. Come along to hear two more of these classic stories – “The Tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher” and “The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle” and learn about the fascinating lives of the real animals that inspired Beatrix Potter’s writing.
Then on Sunday we are hosting an Optics Fair in the centre. From 10am-4pm a representative from Opticron will be on hand to offer expert advice with a wide selection of binoculars and telescopes available to try and purchase. And remember – if you’re a Scottish Wildlife Trust member you are entitled to a 10% discount of any optics purchased.
Over the weekend we will also be launching a permanent new trail, “Mystery at Loch of the Lowes”. Bertie Brown Trout has gone missing and the investigation is floundering. The list of suspects has been narrowed down to four; your challenge is to search out the clues on the reserve to solve the mystery. The trail has been generously supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. Anyone who successfully completes the trail will receive a certificate, badge and a prize!
We are delighted to announce that this evening at Loch of the Lowes our first osprey egg of 2015 was laid! Only 10 minutes before the event did our night watch staff first notice the classic signs of egg laying behaviour, including the female tail lifting and panting. At 20:50 she finally stood up to reveal her beautiful new egg! Despite a little hesitation at the beginning, she settled down to incubate happily at 21:10, and as I write she is taking a well-deserved nap whilst sitting on her first egg of the season.
First osprey egg at Loch of the Lowes 2015 © Scottish Wildlife Trust
We are now looking forward to witnessing how the parental techniques of our new pairing develop over the coming days and hope you enjoy watching the story unfold with us on our webcam.
It has been a chaotic 24 hours for our new pairing as we eagerly await their first egg. A large influx of ospreys from the continent has been making passage north after sheltering from severe weather in Iberia. Late on Friday morning a male intruder appeared but was swiftly chased off by the pair. A large female intruder then appeared and brazenly robbed our male of his fresh catch on the nest. She enjoyed her free lunch on the flat top tree. Later in the afternoon both females were observed on the nest together, apparently without animosity. Our male eventually chased the intruder to the end of the loch, leaving us wondering if that was the end of the incursion. Our female spent the night away from the nest as usual, which is quite normal behaviour.
Our male chases off the first female intruder. © Val Gall.
On Saturday morning the female intruder returned and settled on the flat top tree. We were confident that our male would not stray from his new partner, but the temptation of another female proved too great! He mated with her on flat top tree. For our female, a model of restraint up to now, this was a step too far and a melee ensued as she attempted to oust the imposter. Our pairing returned to the nest and looked on as yet another female intruder bombed the first intruder on flat top tree! Our male, sensibly deciding that three females might be a handful, joined forces with his mate and chased off both the intruders.
Both female intruders take flight in formation. © Val Gall.
Ospreys are attracted to sites with other ospreys in situ, and these later arrivals will be desperate to find a nest and a mate. They may also be using the loch as a staging post to feed and rest before moving on. It is pleasing that our pairing does not seem to have been greatly disrupted. Continuing fair weather provides good fishing, and our male is fulfilling his duties admirably.
A well deserved trout. © Val Gall.
Species Protection Officer.
Having seen fewer red squirrels around our feeding station over the winter, it is lovely to see them back again!
This Sunday, 12th April, we are delighted to have Ken Neil from Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels with us at Loch of the Lowes. Do you have Red Squirrels visiting your garden? Want to know how to attract them? What they like to eat? How to get rid of Grey Squirrels?
Ken has tremendous knowledge of these iconic Scottish animals so if you have any questions - please come along between 11am-4pm.
There will also be lots of Red Squirrel themed activities for children and a Red Squirrel trail!
Hope to see you tomorrow!
Visitor Centre Assistant