The woods around the Loch of the Lowes are now in full autumn colours and the reflections in the still waters are beautiful to behold. The loch itself is busy though, with plenty of autumn wildfowl, such as Goldeneye ducks, Tufted ducks, Great Crested grebes and even a juvenile cormorant this morning. In the skies overhead, in the early morning and evening, Mute swans, Pink Foot and Canada geese can all be seen and heard, as they use the loch as a safe roost at night, leaving to spend the days grazing in fields nearby. As the colder weather sets in, these birds will be joined by many others as autumn migration really peaks. At night the woods here are busy, with at least three Tawny owls calling near the visitors centre last night, lots of fallow deer about, and even a very welcome pine martin sighting ( near the car park) on Tuesday morning early.
As this is my first blog since my return this week to the Loch of the Lowes, it seems appropriate that I introduce myself properly: I am Emma Rawling, the new full time Perthshire Ranger for SWT. I have had the pleasure of being the seasonal ranger here in 2010 and so know the area, the reserves and the Loch of the Lowes ospreys very well . Coming originally from Australia, with a background in veterinary nursing, animal welfare and wildlife rehabilitation, I have been in the UK for 11 years. I moved to Scotland seven years ago to complete a Masters degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, and now feel very much at home here. Prior to working for SWT, I ran the Tweed Valley Osprey project, and so have extensive experience with ospreys in particular.
My role as the Perthshire Ranger will be very broad, covering five varied reserves, with duties including surveying diverse species, practical habitat management, as well as running a new education and outreach program. I will of course be based at Loch of the Lowes, and am already looking forward to a wonderful, innovative 2012 osprey season.
Lastly I want to say a big thank you to Anna Cheshier and her team of hard working volunteers who achieved so much in 2011 on all the reserves, in sometimes difficult circumstances- thanks to them the five Perthshire reserves are even better places for wildlife to thrive.