Events from the nest today:
Our male and female continue to incubate the eggs, making regular changes between duties. At 6.15am, our male, 7Y brought a headless fish, and at 6.18am could be seen feeding our female. Since that time, the three eggs have been turned regularly by both male and female osprey. Our male has also continued to bring in soft nesting material in order to further protect the eggs during incubation.
We recently received a question via firstname.lastname@example.org, which inquired into whether we could be certain that the female osprey on the nest here at Loch of the Lowes is in fact the same bird back for the 21st breeding season. The reason we can be sure this is our resident female returned, is due to the unique defect on her right iris, which forms a lighting bolt shape. There is a lot of individual variation in markings of an osprey’s plumage, particularly on the head including the pattern of the band that runs through the eyes. Roy Dennis (author of ‘A Life of Ospreys’) has confirmed that ospreys also display individual behavioural characteristics that can be of use in identification purposes. We can now use the lightning bolt shaped defect on our female’s iris as a means to certainly and quickly identify her, while this unique feature marries up with the markings and behavioural characteristics which those familiar with this specific bird will recognise easily.
Other wildlife at Loch of the Lowes:
Today on the loch, 4 great crested grebes were seen displaying in two pairs, along with 3 mute swans a Canada goose, 10 mallard (one with 9 ducklings) also being recorded.
At the feeders were 2 pheasants,2 great spotted woodpaeckers, 3 blue tuts, 2 coal tits, 2 great tits, 2 greenfinches, 3 siskins, 2 yellowhammers. 2 red squirrels also visited the feeders at 5pm, enjoying peanuts found in the box feeders.
Perthshire Reserves Seasonal Ranger
Night-time wildlife at Loch of the Lowes:
It is now week four in our 24 hour Osprey Watch here at loch of the Lowes. The infra-red camera we have positioned on the nest reveals the nocturnal activity of our famous Osprey pair. Our female diligently turns the three eggs on a regular basis throughout the small hours of the morning, and occasionally stands off them to stretch her wings or take a toilet break. The sleeping positions of the bird reveals her head is usually nuzzled flat onto the nest or sometimes tucked back over her shoulder. Movement from the Mallard and Tufted ducks or ‘honking’ from the Canada geese below on the loch is sometimes loud enough to cause our female to raise her head and inquisitively look in the direction of the sound.
The camera in our Blue Tit box now reveals the bird to be incubating twelve eggs! A common clutch size for a blue tit is seven or eight. The tit behaves in a very similar way to our Osprey with regular egg turning and preening in-between periods of rest.
From the darkness of the surrounding countryside, the ‘hooohooo’ of Tawny Owls can be heard, as they hunt their prey of small mammals, frogs, insects and worms.
Fallow deer ‘barks’ emanate from the woodland as they browse on the local flora; some of these deer will be heavily pregnant at the moment with the kids being due by mid May to early June.
Our female osprey begins to contact call around day break and her mate, 7Y has regularly been arriving at the nest not long after to take his first turn of incubation duties of the day, while our female takes flight.
The feeders at the visitor centre also begin to get busy at first light with Red squirrels, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Cole/Blue/Great tits, Starlings and Pheasants all eager for breakfast to start another busy day.
SITA Species Protection Officer