Christmas Fayre

The visitor centre team will be out and about over the next few weekends attending some our our local Christmas markets.

This coming Saturday, from 9-3 we will be running a stall at the Craft Market on King Edward Street in Perth, selling a range of festive wildlife-themed gifts including Christmas cards, calendars, books & animal adoptions. If you’re in Perth why not pop down and say hello?

On Saturday 13th December we will just down the road from Loch of the Lowes in Dunkeld at Santa Day. Santa Day is recognised nationally as one of the best Christmas events in Scotland, and this year is celebrating its 25th anniversary. As well as the community market which we will be part of, Santa puts in a special appearance at 1pm, pulled by his herd of reindeer and then sets up a grotto for the rest of the afternoon so that children can meet him! A certain famous squirrel has also been known to drop by on Santa Day so come along and see what all the fuss is about!

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A previous Santa Day ©Scottish Wildlife Trust

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Black Grouse in Perthshire

Tomorrow evening we are hosting a talk in the visitor centre by Claire Smith from the RSPB on Black Grouse conservation in Perthshire and how you can get involved in helping to monitor their numbers.

Black Grouse populations across Europe have been in decline since the latter half of the 19th Century, largely driven by land use changes. Once a common sight throughout the UK, including southern and central England, they are now confined to Scotland, the Pennines and upland areas in Wales.

Targeted habitat management has helped to reverse this trend in certain areas. Claire will inform us about some of the work that the RSPB have been doing to help Black Grouse recover in Perthshire, and how you can contribute to the conservation effort.

It should be a fascinating talk so please come along if you can. There is no charge for attending but donations are encouraged.

Black Grouse Talk Poster-page-0

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Photos from Scottish Tree of the Year

Staff and volunteers at Loch of the Lowes have been celebrating the awarding of the inaugural Scottish Tree of the Year title to “Lady’s Tree” since the announcement was made last Thursday, prior to the presentation ceremony at the Scottish Parliament that evening.

I was lucky enough to be invited along to attend the presentation, which was sponsored by MSP Jim Hume, on behalf of the team at Loch of the Lowes, along with the Scottish Wildlife Trust Chairman, Robin Harper and Chief Executive, Jonathan Hughes. Below are a selection of images from the evening…

Left to right: Jonathan Hughes, Jonathan Pinnick (Me), Robin Harper - © Helen Pugh Photography

Left to right: Jonathan Hughes, Jonathan Pinnick (Me), Robin Harper – © Helen Pugh Photography

Left to right: Carol Evans (Director, Woodland Trust Scotland), Robin Harper, Jonathan Hughes, Jonathan Pinnick (Me), Annemiek Hoogenboom (Managing Director, People's Postcode Lottery), Jim Hume MSP - © Helen Pugh Photography

Left to right: Carol Evans (Director, Woodland Trust Scotland), Robin Harper, Jonathan Hughes, Jonathan Pinnick (Me), Annemiek Hoogenboom (Managing Director, People’s Postcode Lottery), Jim Hume MSP – © Helen Pugh Photography

Left to right: Robin Harper, Jonathan Hughes, Jonathan Pinnick (Me), Annemiek Hoogenboom (Managing Director, People's Postcode Lottery) - © Helen Pugh Photography

Left to right: Robin Harper, Jonathan Hughes, Jonathan Pinnick (Me), Annemiek Hoogenboom (Managing Director, People’s Postcode Lottery) – © Helen Pugh Photography

Me with the Scottish Tree of the Year trophy - © Helen Pugh Photography

Me with the Scottish Tree of the Year trophy – © Helen Pugh Photography

The trophy, which has been attracting many admiring looks from staff, volunteers and public alike, was lovingly designed and created by Angus Clyne , a professional woodturner based in Ballinluig, near Pitlochry. The base is made from Burr Elm whilst the circular top section is Turned Oak. Given that it was sculpted in Highland Perthshire it seems very fitting that it should stay in the local area.

It will have pride of place in our visitor centre glass display cabinet for the next 12 months so you can come and see it for yourselves. Hopefully come next spring we can add the European Tree of the Year trophy to the collection – voting opens in February!

A HUGE thank you once again to everyone who voted for us – we couldn’t have done it without you! Thanks must also go to Woodland Trust Scotland for organising the competition and to the People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting the event.

The Scottish Tree of the Year Trophy - © Marion Moore

The Scottish Tree of the Year Trophy – © Marion Moore

Me and some of the Loch of the Lowes volunteer team with the trophy © Marion Moore

Me and some of the Loch of the Lowes volunteer team with the trophy © Marion Moore

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LADY’S TREE HAS WON SCOTLAND’S TREE OF THE YEAR AWARD!

This year being the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s 50th Anniversary, we and I’m sure our veteran osprey are thrilled that this iconic Scots Pine tree has won this award. 

LOL Tree JClose

Scots Pine Tree – Copywrite SWT (Jon.Close)

A reminder why this Scots Pine is a worthy Winner:

The Scots Pine is native to the Highlands of Scotland and is the largest and longest-lived tree in the Caledonian Forest. Its conservation status is recovering with regeneration now starting to occur, especially in areas fenced off from browsing deer.

This particular Scots Pine at Loch of Lowes is over 60 feet tall and was chosen by our famous Osprey affectionately known as ‘Lady’, as her home. It also forms the foundations for a variety of other species that depend upon it in many ways. Playing host to Stump Lichens and Scottish Wood Ants that live on and under the bark, a shelter for deer, shade for flowers, home and food for red squirrels and in pride of place up top, our majestic Ospreys that nest in its level branches.

It’s part of a conservation success story! For the past 24 years ‘Lady’ has returned to nest in this Scots Pine tree on our nature reserve at Loch of the Lowes, Dunkeld, Perthshire. During this time she has laid 71 eggs and fledged 50 chicks. This is truly remarkable and the safety provided by the Scots pine in all weather has surely played a part in that success. Our 24hr HD webcam on the tree attracts over 1 million viewers a year in over 160 different countries.

This Scots Pine has been fundamental in the success of our breeding osprey programme here at Loch of the Lowes and as such this tremendous tree and our Osprey deserve to be equally famous.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust would like to thank players of the People’s Postcode Lottery for supporting this competition and helping conservation charities like the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Woodland Trust to protect wildlife and wild places for future generations. Scottish Wildlife Trust would also like to thank all our supporters from reserve staff and volunteers to visitors, web cam watchers and avid blog readers; we hope you continue to enjoy this wonderful Tree and all the nature on, in and around it!

Sarah Close
Visitor Centre Assistant

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Deer Family Fun Weekend

Join us this weekend  for Deer quizzes and crafts.
Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd of November 11am – 3pm

Here in Scotland our native Deer are Roe deer, Fallow deer and Red deer.

At the visitor centre this weekend you can find out more about how to identify each of them and what field signs to look out for when on a nature walk.

You may also spot some of them this weekend, but they may not always be quite where you expect………………

Roe and Fallow deer sometimes graze on the shore edge of lochs and they may even take a swim (Like the one below) if the water’s not too cold!!

Roe Deer Buck Swimming in Loch of the Lowes

Roe Deer Buck Swimming in a Loch

If you are really lucky you may even spot a white Fallow doe.
White Fallow can be seen in the Dunkeld area, but to trick you they are often with the other Fallow with the typical red/brown colouring so keep your eyes peeled!

One of Loch of the Lowes more unusual visitors - White hind Fallow Deer

One of Dunkeld’s more unusual visitors – White Fallow doe

As I write this a visitor has also reported a sighting of a (melanistic) black Fallow deer.

For those avid wildlife enthusiasts there are four Fallow Deer colour variations:

  1. Common
    Have a chestnut coat with white spots in the summer and a much darker, unspotted coat in the winter.
    They have a light tail with a black stripe and it is often described as heart shaped or Black/white/black/white/black stripe patterning
  2. Menil
    Have spots more distinct than the common Fallows colouring in summer and no black around the rump patch or on the tail. In winter, spots still clear on a darker brown coat.
  3. Melanistic (black)
    All year black shading to greyish-brown. No light-coloured tail patch or spots
  4. Leucistic (white, but not albino)
    The fawns are cream-coloured; adults become pure white, especially in winter. Dark eyes and nose, no spots

so you really never know what you might spot when you take a walk around our wonderful nature reserve and your local natural environment.

You can even be a Fallow deer for the day and follow the trail to find your Fallow Deer family by answering a number of quiz questions!

So let your friends and family know and head over to Loch of the Lowes this weekend! Don’t forget your waterproof and wellies, but don’t worry if you get a wee bit cold as we have hot drinks to warm you up and a large viewing window where you can watch the wildlife from the warmth of the visitor centre.

This is a Free event, but normal visitor centre charges apply.
Adult £4.00  Concession £2.50  Child 50p  Family £7.50
Your ticket is valid all day
So you can come and go as much as you like between 10.30am-4pm, just show your receipt

Scottish Wildlife Trust Members are FREE, so why not become a member today! Just ask the staff at the Visitor Centre reception for more information

Sarah Close, Visitor Centre Assistant

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Scottish Tree of the Year – it’s the final countdown!

There are only days left now to register your vote for “Lady’s Tree” in the Scottish Tree of the Year 2014.

The competition, organised by the Woodland Trust, aims to highlight the incredible stories behind some of Scotland’s most iconic trees – none more so we would argue than the tree which has been home to our famous female osprey for nearly a quarter of a century!

See Sarah’s previous blog if you want to know all the reasons why “Lady’s Tree” deserves your vote.

Online voting closes this Sunday, 26th October so if you haven’t cast your vote yet then do so now by going to http://bit.ly/TreeoftheYear - Please note, one vote is allowed per email address.

The result of Scottish Tree of the Year 2014 will be announced on Thursday 30th October at an award reception in the Scottish Parliament. The winner will not only receive the Scottish Tree of the Year trophy but will also be put forward as Scotland’s entry into the European Tree of the Year competition for 2015.

So what are you waiting for? Get voting!

Jonathan

ladys-tree-4

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