Christmas wildlife gifts

Christmas will soon be upon us… are you still looking for that special gift for a loved one?

Then look no further! At Loch of the Lowes we have the perfect presents for you.

Why not a photo of our ospreys?…

Supplied with an easy to use hanging kit, these stunning images have proven to be extremely popular and would make an excellent addition to any room in your house, allowing you to enjoy the magnificent sight of an osprey all year round.

Orders can be collected from Loch of the Lowes or if it’s more convenient, delivered directly to your home/work address. Order by the 20th of December to be sure that it arrives for Christmas

Fishing osprey                                                                                                        

  • 40cm x 40cm – £50 (+ standard UK delivery – £5.95)
  • 60cm x 40cm – £75 (+ standard UK delivery – £6.95)
  • 80cm x 60cm – £90 (+ standard UK delivery – £6.95)
Fishing Osprey ©Chris Cachia Zammit

Fishing Osprey ©Chris Cachia Zammit

Chasing ospreys

  • 30cm x 20cm – £30 (+ standard UK delivery – £4.95)
  • 40cm x 30cm – £45 (+ standard UK delivery – £5.95)
  • 50cm x 40cm – £70 (+ standard UK delivery – £6.95)
Chasing ospreys ©Chris Cachia Zammit

Chasing ospreys ©Chris Cachia Zammit

Intruding osprey

  • 30cm x 30cm – £35 (+ standard UK delivery – £4.95)
  • 40cm x 40cm – £50 (+ standard UK delivery – £5.95)
Intruding osprey ©Chris Cachia-Zammit

Intruding osprey ©Chris Cachia-Zammit

Or maybe a red squirrel photo?…

We are now also offering for sale, canvas prints of our adorable red squirrels…

 

© Chris Cachia Zammit

© Chris Cachia Zammit

Squirrel feeding 

  • 40cm x 60cm – £75 (+ standard UK delivery – £6.95)
  • 50cm x 75cm – £80 (+ standard UK delivery – £6.95)
  • 60cm x 80cm – £90 (+ standard UK delivery – £6.95)

 

 

 

 

 

© Chris Cachia Zammit

© Chris Cachia Zammit

Squirrel  – Close up

  • 40cm x 60cm – £75 (+ standard UK delivery – £6.95)

 

 

 

 

 

© Chris Cachia Zammit

© Chris Cachia Zammit

Squirrel enjoying a peanut 

  • 40cm x 40cm – £50 (+ standard UK delivery – £5.95)
  • 50cm x 75cm – £80 (+ standard UK delivery – £6.95)
  • 60cm x 80cm – £90 (+ standard UK delivery – £6.95)

 

 

If you would like to order a canvas, or for more information telephone Loch of the Lowes on 01350 727337 or email lochofthelowes@scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk

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

November sightings

Ferns with frost. Photo taken by Chris Cachia Zammit

Ferns with frost. Photo taken by Chris Cachia Zammit

November has been mild but still cold, with temperatures sometimes dropping below zero. The cold conditions have increased the number of chaffinches and coal tits visiting the feeding station, due to lack of naturally available food in the countryside. The local great spotted woodpeckers have made daily visits to the feeding station feasting on peanuts.

Red squirrels are still gathering peanuts and burying them in their hidey holes among the leaves around the feeding station, while being watched by the carrion crows who are eager to pinch an easy meal.


On the loch a good number of duck species
were recorded in high numbers. These include; wigeon, goldeneye, mallard and tufted duck. At the end of November a female longtailed duck was spotted, an unusual sighting for the loch.

Up to five great crested grebes were regular spotted on the loch. Four whooper swans came for a short break and then continued their journey to warmer places.

Four whooper swans on the loch. Photo taken by Chris Cachia Zammit

Four whooper swans on the loch. Photo taken by Chris Cachia Zammit

Flocks of pink footed geese were seen and heard flying over the loch, with some spending the evening on the loch and leaving early morning. Black headed gulls and common gulls are also gathering in large numbers to roost on the loch.

Chris Cachia Zammit

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

Beavers at Loch of the Lowes

Loch of the Lowes has been home to charismatic species including ospreys and red squirrels for decades. Recently a more unusual species took up residence at the reserve when two beavers, part of the wider Tayside population, moved in.

The first unmistakable clues were found here in 2012. The felled trees and nibbled branches were clear evidence left behind by only one species. Further investigation soon led to the discovery of a breeding pair of beavers who quickly settled down in the ideal habitat provided by the reserve.

And for the past three years I’ve had the pleasure of watching these amazing creatures raise multiple young and interact with some of our other species, and witness first-hand the number of benefits they can bring.

I can clearly remember the very first time I set eyes on a beaver at Lowes. I had only been working at the reserve for a few weeks when I caught my first glimpse of a pine marten and thought nothing could ever beat it. But seeing my first beaver was something else, a magical and surreal experience and I’ll never get bored or tired of watching these incredible mammals. We’re very lucky at Loch of the Lowes to have two wildlife hides situated right on the water’s edge, providing the perfect place to watch beavers in their natural environment without disturbing them.

Beaver at Loch of the Lowes © Charlotte Fleming

Beaver at Loch of the Lowes © Charlotte Fleming

Every spring and summer, a great number of people come to our reserve to watch ospreys close up and they are never disappointed. This year in particular evening visitors were often treated to a very unexpected and thrilling surprise. The woodland surrounding the loch is a great feeding ground and the beavers can often be seen swimming gracefully across the loch, sometimes just a few feet from the hide. Or if you are really lucky, you might witness the beautiful sight of a beaver drifting on its back, munching contentedly on a water lily.

Even for people who have been wildlife watching for years, there is something very unique and incredibly captivating about these creatures. It’s a real honour to be able to share such special moments with visitors and watch their reaction as they see these beavers back where they belong.

With their scaly tail, webbed feet and unique feeding methods, at first everything about beavers seems unusual. But these are native mammals that were once widespread across the UK until they suffered the same fate as many other species; over-exploitation and persecution. Now, several hundred years later they are back. In some areas the habitat will feel as if time has stood still, in others it has changed beyond recognition. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the many important roles beavers play in their surroundings and the number of benefits they provide to other wildlife, their environment and to us.

Beaver hiding at Loch of the Lowes © Charlotte Fleming

Beaver hiding at Loch of the Lowes © Charlotte Fleming

As a keystone species, their impacts improve the habitat for many others by restoring vital wetland areas that provide a home for many insects, fish and birds. At Loch of the Lowes we’ve seen for ourselves what positive influences they can have on woodlands. They help bring new life to older woodlands by felling trees that naturally coppice and regenerate, with this fresh growth providing food for others. There is no doubt that in certain areas beaver populations will need to be managed, but in the right places the positive effects they have on their environment is undeniable.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust has welcomed the milestone decision to allow beavers to stay in Scotland and for further information please follow this link to the latest blog from our Chief Executive Jonny Hughes.

I am really looking forward to welcoming more visitors to the reserve next year to witness for themselves what wonderful animals beavers are and to see why these creatures deserve their place back in Scotland.

Charlotte,

Perthshire Ranger.

Posted in Diary 2016 |

Changing Scenery.

The Loch of the Lowes changes constantly with every season. Here are some photos of the loch in different seasons.

Panorama of the Loch in early Spring. Photo taken by Chris Cachia Zammit

Panorama of the Loch in early Spring. Photo taken by Chris Cachia Zammit

Loch of the Lowes in Summer. Photo taken by Marion Moore.

Loch of the Lowes in Summer. Photo taken by Marion Moore.

Autumn colours at Loch of the Lowes. Photo taken by Chris Cachia Zammit.

Autumn colours at Loch of the Lowes. Photo taken by Chris Cachia Zammit.

Morning mist rolling down the hills at Loch of the Lowes. Photo taken by Chris Cachia Zammit.

Morning mist rolling down the hills at Loch of the Lowes. Photo taken by Chris Cachia Zammit.

Winter-y sunset at Loch of the Lowes. Photo taken by Cherry Bowen.

Wintery sunset at Loch of the Lowes. Photo taken by Cherry Bowen.

 

Chris Cachia Zammit

Posted in Diary 2016 | Tagged , , , , |

Squirrel mania!

As winter approaches more and more red squirrels are visiting the feeding station,

Squirrel stashing peanuts Photo by Chris Cachia Zammit

Squirrel stashing peanuts
Photo by Chris Cachia Zammit

frantically collecting peanuts and hiding them in safe storage spaces for the lean months to come.

It’s fascinating to watch them scampering about all over the feeding station, digging little stashes under the fallen leaves and filling them up with peanuts. These hidey holes make easy pickings for carrion crows and jays who keep an eye where the squirrels are hiding them.

In autumn, food is plentiful for red squirrels as they can feed on a wide variety of other food items such as berries and fungi, when nuts are not available. This abundance will help them to gain weight so that they can withstand the harsh winter and hopefully keep females in good condition to bear up to two litters the following year.

Red squirrels’ coats also start to thicken and the ear tufts become more prominent at this time of year. Whilst in spring they start moulting from the head down, the sequence is reversed in autumn.

Many people believe that the squirrels hibernate during winter. In fact, squirrels will keep on foraging for food in the snow, even though they have already stored food for the winter.

Chris Cachia Zammit

Posted in Diary 2016 | Tagged , , |

It’s beginning to look a lot like winter

As the temperatures are falling lower and lower, increasing numbers of wintering bird migrants are coming to Loch of the Lowes. Sizable flocks of pink footed and greylag geese can be heard flying over, with some stopping off at the reserve for a short break. Redwings and fieldfares can still be seen in the woodland, flying from treetop to treetop in search of berries.

The cold also brought in two whooper swans that were spotted flying over the loch. Other species that have been seen over the last month include; wigeon, tufted duck, goldeneye, goosander and mallards. A kingfisher was even spotted darting past the hide.

Whooper swans in flight - (Hiyashi Haka/Creative Commons)

Whooper swans in flight – (Hiyashi Haka/Creative Commons)

The young peregrine is still hanging around and a marsh harrier was spotted over the hills in the distance. In the evenings, tawny owls have be heard hooting away in the woodland around the Visitor Centre.

With winter setting in, food becomes more and more scarce. This makes our feeders an oasis for the small birds. Numbers of coal tits and chaffinches have increased markedly in recent days and our local great spotted woodpeckers are making their daily visits to the feeders, feasting on the peanuts and peanut butter which we provide for them.

With prey comes predators, up to two sparrowhawks were spotted, with several breath taking mid-air hunts witnessed at the feeding station viewing window.

Male sparrowhawk - (Andy Morffew/Creative Commons)

Male sparrowhawk – (Andy Morffew/Creative Commons)

Red squirrels are now making a come back into the feeding station, and there are a couple of new squirrels in the area which still need to figure out how to open the peanut feeders, but for now they are more preoccupied by keeping away from the local red squirrels!

Fallow deer have been rutting for the last few weeks and large herds have been seen in the woodland and wandering about in the visitor centre car park.

Chris Cachia Zammit

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