From the Nightwatch Team

Night watch notes from Loch of the Lowes

 We have now completed over a week on night watch duty and have been observing our bird’s nocturnal habits during this initial incubation period. As you know she now has three beautiful eggs to look after and is doing a sterling job despite some terrible cold and rainy nights.

In between periods of rest, when she tucks her head on her back or sometimes elongates herself in the nest with face nuzzled into the soft nesting material (as seen in picture below), the eggs are regularly turned/moved; this ensures they are uniformly warmed and remain at the optimum incubating temperature.

Female Incubating at Night, April 2012.

Studies of an American nest site have shown that Osprey eggs were incubated within a recorded range of 34.3 – 37.9 C; quite an incredible instinctive skill to keep the eggs to within a few degrees over the 5 week incubation term.

The male bird has been appearing at first light most mornings, sometimes in response to the females contact calling, and duly takes over the incubation while she flies off for some exercise.

Thankfully there have been no signs of human disturbance near the nest site but the birds are still very mindful of avian threats such as other Ospreys, Buzzards and Crows whenever they pass near.

 Species Protection Officer    Douglas Thomson 

Pine Marten update!

 After last week’s success with the camera trap (See Emma’s Wildlife Diary 14th April), we put it back out to monitor a different area of the reserve.  We recently discovered a dead roadkill Pheasant in the woods and thought this would be an ideal chance to investigate what interest it would attract.

  Once again, we were delighted with the results! After scouring through dozens of clips of Carrion Crows fighting over the spoils we came across this fantastic close up footage of a large Pine Marten, displaying fascinating scent marking behaviour.  Pine Martens are notoriously difficult to spot in the wild so we are lucky to capture them on camera and gain an insight into their behaviour.

 here’s a link to the whole video clip: http://youtu.be/BSI8lNDwbqQ

From the video stills below you can see the distinctive ID features of Pine Marten, such as the very rounded ears, a light (creamy/yellow) bib under the chin, strong muscular hind legs and a darker bushy tail.

Pine Marten Camera Trap Still, April 2012.
Pine Marten Camera Trap Still, April 2012.

If you would like to find out more about Pine Martens follow the link below: http://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/visit/wildlife/p/pine-marten/

 We will continue to monitor all night time activity on the reserve and keep you updated with weekly blogs.

 Species Protection Officer   Thomas Plant

 

Preface

Night watch notes from Loch of the Lowes  We have now completed over a week on night watch duty and have been observing our bird’s nocturnal habits during this initial …

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