Osprey Update 21st July

It’s an exciting time here at Loch of the Lowes, and a real relief to have witnessed all three of our osprey chicks fledging successfully. After its maiden flight on Sunday, FR4 decided to spend most of Monday tucked up on the nest, trying to shelter from the intermittent rain showers. Its siblings however were confident enough to fly further afield in search of cover, perching under the canopy of nearby trees. Since fitting our chicks with satellite transmitters 3 weeks ago, I am now able to share with you the initial movements of FR3, our first chick to fledge on the 12th July. As expected, apart from the odd adventurous short flight it has spent most of its time perched close to the nest, keeping a keen eye out for dad returning with a fish. All of the fledglings are still returning to the eyrie for feeding, but we will soon expect to see them choose their own favourite feeding spot close by.

Satellite data of FR3's first movements © Scottish Wildlife Trust

Satellite data of FR3’s first movements, with the star showing the approximate location of the nest © Scottish Wildlife Trust

Visitors have witnessed our male taking spectacular plunges into the loch whilst fishing, appearing to show the youngsters how it’s done. One chick seems to be a very quick learner, as one of our volunteers captured a very special moment as it took its first fishing attempt in full view of the hide. Our female should be with us for another few weeks, preparing herself for her autumn migration. Our male however will stay in charge of the youngsters, providing food and protection until they are strong enough to migrate at about 12 weeks of age. In the meantime we look forward to watching them practice their flying skills and tracking their movements as they go!

A chick's first fishing attempt © Carolyn Taylor

A chick’s first fishing attempt © Carolyn Taylor

Charlotte,

Perthshire Ranger.

Posted in Diary 2015 |

Technical Difficulties

Just a quick note to apologise for the webcam interruption this morning. Due to a power cut over the weekend we have been experiencing technical problems, but hopefully our clever IT team will have it back up and running shortly.

Thanks for your patience!

Charlotte.

Perthshire Ranger.

Posted in Diary 2015 |

The final fledging and diving practice!

For those of you who haven’t been watching the webcam this afternoon I’m delighted to tell you that our remaining osprey chick has finally fledged the nest. After many days of “helicoptering” and hopping around on the nest FR4 finally plucked up the courage to take the plunge at around 3.35pm.

As if this wasn’t exciting enough, shortly after the fledging, two of the chicks (we aren’t quite sure which but most likely FR2 & FR3) were observed making a number of practice dives into the loch in full view of the hides – a real treat for the lucky visitors who happened to be there at the time! This is very encouraging behaviour to observe at a relatively early stage in the final phase of their development (they’ve only been on the wing for just over a week).

It was a strange sensation to see the nest empty this afternoon for the first time in several months. However, the birds will continue to use the nest as a base to explore from and call in when the male brings a fish to share with them. So keep tuning in to the webcam over the next few weeks!

Jonathan

Visitor Centre Assistant Manager

Posted in Diary 2015 | Tagged , , |

Webcam Interruption

The power went off at Loch of the Lowes last night leading to the webcam going offline. We are relieved to say the electricians have attended and it has been sorted out (fingers firmly crossed). For all those who called the centre, we apologise for not answering. We were dealing with the problem and trying to open before bus parties arrived but in the event it was nearly 11am before the doors opened.  As well as causing a break in the webcam viewing, a power outage means we have no water in the visitor centre for toilets – an essential, I am sure you would agree! This is because our water is from a well and requires an electric pump.

It is a very blustery day but good views are being had of the 4 flying ospreys and FR4, still in the nest. The fact that FR4 has not yet fledged is of no concern, especially given the unusual weather conditions over the last couple of days: torrential rain and high, gusting winds.

The great crested grebes’ nest has suffered from the raise in water level and choppy waves on the loch. Fortunately, although they appear to have abandoned their almost submerged nest, one chick has been spotted, safe and well.

Here’s hoping the stormy weather will pass us by, sooner rather than later!

Cherry

Visitor Centre Assistant

 

Posted in Diary 2015 |

The story of fledging so far…

It’s with great excitement that I write this blog following the announcement of such eagerly anticipated news, after two of our three chicks at Lowes fledged on Sunday evening! Both chicks’ behaviour from 4pm onwards hinted that the time had come, with plenty of wing stretching and flapping to be seen both from the hides and the webcam. The less active chick was unfortunately in the way of lots of ‘helicoptering’ behaviour from these two, and was landed on a couple of times during their short flights across the breadth of the nest!  It was at 4.23pm that our female led the way, with the first chick FR3 taking flight at 4.24pm with a slightly downhill start before reaching the safe perch of a neighbouring tree.

Once one had fledged, the female made a few round trips from the nest whilst the other two chicks rested up and hungrily picked at stored leftovers. Recently the male has been delivering fish less frequently to encourage the chicks to fly. After an hour of rest, the second chick FR2 began to stir and stretch its wings once again, and at 5.36pm it flew the nest after lots of eager wing flapping, leaving the female and resting chick to watch on.

Chick FR3 takes it's first flight at Loch of the Lowes © Ruth Rowlands

Chick FR3 takes its first flight at Loch of the Lowes © Ruth Rowlands

The third chick FR4 was beginning to show signs of its own fledging activity, ‘helicoptering’ around the now spacious nest, but it’s limelight was short-lived when the second chick to fledge made a surprisingly smooth return to the nest. They settled down together before the second chick became restless once again at 6.55pm and took off for a series of short flights, circling the nest for another 10 minutes.

It wasn’t until 8.20pm that the first chick to fledge reappeared at the nest, with a slightly clumsy touchdown after almost 4 hours away perched in a nearby tree. With all chicks present and well, and after fervent begging calls from the female, the male delivered a well-deserved fish to end their eventful evening.

While there have been no obvious hints of the third chick fledging, we have no reason to doubt that it too will be successful, which will make this year the first that 3 chicks have fledged at Loch of the Lowes since 2003. In the coming weeks we will expect the female to distance herself further as the chicks become more independent and able to feed themselves, and the chicks too will spend less and less time at the nest to perfect their flying skills and search for some long awaited personal space! Nevertheless, they will remain close by to ensure they don’t miss out on the male’s fish deliveries to the nest, and it won’t be until 11 or 12 weeks of age that they will be ready for their own migration, so we needn’t be ready to say goodbye just yet!

Rosie,

Volunteer Assistant Ranger.

Posted in Diary 2015 |

Not one but … 2 chicks fledge!

We are delighted to say that two of our chicks fledged successfully this afternoon!

So … don’t worry if at any point you only see one chick in the nest on the webcam.  The other two are safe and well and both have also achieved safe landings on nearby trees.

More details very soon …

Cherry

 

Posted in Diary 2015 |