40,000 Thank Yous!

The Scottish Wildlife Trust is celebrating reaching 40,000 members!

A huge thank you to all our members because without this foundation of support we could not carry out the vital work required to protect Scotland’s wildlife for the future.

Today is the 1st of May, International Dawn Chorus Day. At 5.30am, despite a cloudy, unseasonally cool morning, Jonathan led a dozen enthusiastic folk on a Dawn Chorus Walk from Lowes. They had a lovely time by all accounts, seeing and hearing many different species of bird amid the melodious chorus echoing throughout the Loch of the Lowes valley.

The ospreys continue to incubate their three eggs but around midday today the male (LM12) brought a fish to the nest.  Unusually, she did not seize the fish, instead, she flew off, leaving the male to eat his catch while standing on the side of the nest. The three eggs were exposed for approx 11 minutes! Seeing the eggs so vulnerable is always an anxious time for everyone viewing and the visitor centre and hides were buzzing with concern until the female returned to her incubation duties: the male still tucking into his fish.

I will try and sort out some photos and post them – but don’t hold your breath because I am the resident Lowes technophobe!

Cherry

Visitor Centre Assistant

 

 

Posted in Diary 2016 |

Mandarin Duck at Loch of the Lowes – Update

We were contacted last month by the owner of a stolen Mandarin duck. We were sorry to learn today that this pet duck has died. We offered as much assistance as we could after a Mandarin duck was spotted at the reserve, including offering to catch it at the feeding station. Unfortunately the duck moved on from the reserve before this was possible.
 
Ospreys are a Schedule One protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and any disturbance to our breeding pair of birds could be a criminal offence. We are therefore unable to allow anyone to access to the loch while the nest is occupied.
Posted in Diary 2016 | Tagged |

The week so far….

Over the last few days at Loch of the Lowes it’s been made very clear that winter is not letting go just yet. We have been experiencing frequent snow showers, some of them falling heavy and fast, with intermittent spells of warm sunshine! This has occasionally been made all the worse with a northerly wind, bringing with it an icy chill that was whistling through the hides, osprey nest and over the ruffled waters of the loch. The ospreys seemed unaffected by the chill, however the unseasonal weather is cause for concern for swallows and sand martins, who rely on plentiful insect life for food.

Generally life at the nest has been fairly quiet and routine, however this has been occasionally interrupted by intruder ospreys, with these events becoming more frequent over recent weeks.  Yesterday saw a classic example when at 2:20pm an unwanted visitor was observed flying towards the nest. LM12 was occupied on incubation duty at the time, so he made sure it’s arrival was known by a series of loud alarm calls. For the next few minutes there was a dramatic chase as LF15 ferociously swooped and dived at the intruder. The osprey was eventually seen off the reserve, but could be seen circling nearby for approximately half an hour before moving on. Buzzards have been causing a nuisance to our birds recently too, with even the sound of a distant call being immediately noticed. They have kept their distance so far this week, however this fantastic photograph was captured by one of our volunteers Marion which beautifully illustrates our female fending off an unwanted buzzard.

LF15 acrobatically chasing off a buzzard © Marion Moore

LF15 acrobatically chasing off a buzzard © Marion Moore

Whilst we hope that the rest of the week will be uneventful at the nest, I’m sure there will be more surprises in store!

James,

Species Protection Officer.

Posted in Diary 2016 |

Yesterday (24th April) on the Osprey Nest

Yesterday at Loch of the Lowes it appeared that we would have a quiet day, with intermittent incubation change-overs between our pair of ospreys.

Alas, this was not to be, as again we had an intruder osprey briefly appear around lunchtime, which caused our male to alarm call for a couple of minutes. A little while later, the female chased off a crow from the trees close to the nest, giving us a great display of her flying.

Early afternoon, after appearing to have not eaten for about 24 hours, the male brought a fish to the nest which the female immediately relieved him of and headed off to eat elsewhere while he dutifully took over from her and settled down onto the eggs.

Separately, after an absence of a few minutes, the female came down to the loch shore opposite the hides and enjoyed having a paddle as the male sat tight on their eggs.

The male did make us laugh though as not only did he come and sit down next to the female twice in the morning but also decided on one of his two nest material deliveries to put his clod of grass onto the female’s back before slowly sweeping his tail over her head and then back, knocking the grass off in the process!

LM12 having one of his moments at the nest ©Scottish Wildlife Trust

LM12 having one of his moments at the nest ©Scottish Wildlife Trust

Our only concerning moment of the day was when the male decided, for no apparent reason, to leave the nest and it was 10 minutes before the female returned, having been away, to find her clutch unattended – thankfully the weather was rather mild and the sun was shining so we are hopeful that they have not been affected by the experience. It turned out to be an eventful day after all.

Finally, we had our hearts in our mouths this morning when the male finally returned to the nest to relieve the female. She came off the eggs and flew straight off the nest while he stood with the half of fish which he had brought with him and promptly started to devour it on the edge of the nest. He somehow seemed to completely forget his duties and despite being desperate for him to start incubating, he left the eggs exposed for almost 30 minutes before remembering what he was meant to be doing and sat down!! Thankfully the weather was dry, not too cold and fairly still at the time.

LM12 eating his morning fish ©Scottish Wildlife Trust

LM12 eating his morning fish ©Scottish Wildlife Trust

We await the next instalment in the osprey saga.

Vanessa

Species Protection Officer

Posted in Diary 2016 | Tagged , |

Optics Fair Tomorrow!

Our ospreys have been kept on their toes today with an intruder osprey flying close to their nest. On one occasion the male became very agitated and on arriving back at the nest (while the female took to the wing) he trampled around knocking clumps of moss on top of the eggs. Witnessing this rough, unusual behaviour made uncomfortable viewing and we were all relieved when the next opportunity to see the eggs showed they were safe and intact.

Tomorrow (Sunday 24th April) we are delighted to have Donald from Opticron here at Lowes with a large range of binoculars and scopes.

Are you thinking of buying a pair of binoculars? Perhaps your first pair … or upgrading to a better quality? Have you every used a spotter scope to watch wildlife? Not sure which to buy and have loads of questions? Well, now’s your chance!

Come along to Loch of the Lowes between 10am-4pm and try out the different models with Donald at your side to answer your questions.

Remember, if you are a Scottish Wildlife Trust member you will receive a 10% discount on your purchase.

Cherry

Visitor Centre Assistant

 

Posted in Diary 2016 | Tagged , , |

Wildlife Photography at Loch of the Lowes

Apart from a good bird watching spot, Loch of the Lowes is also a good place for wildlife photography. The location allows photographers to come up close and personal with a number of creatures.

The visitor centre has a viewing window overlooking a well-equipped feeding station where one can sit down and photograph woodland birds such as Yellowhammer and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Red Squirrels visit the feeding station on a regular basis, sometimes chasing each other, burying nuts or running along the rope strung between the trunks of surrounding trees.

Loch of the Lowes offers the opportunity to use the reserve’s one man hide for a whole day. This will give an opportunity for the photographers to take photos of birds and mammals in their natural environment.

Chris Cachia Zammit

one man hide rent

Posted in Diary 2016 | Tagged , , , , |