by Ainoa and Kirsten, Species Protection Officers
Today sees the official mustering of the troops in the anticipation of the return of Ospreys to Loch of the Lowes. We are extremely grateful to the over fifty volunteers who have committed themselves to keeping our Ospreys safe and free from disturbance over the crucial breeding period.
Despite the snow we have had a really good turnout for the informal training sessions in Bird ID and use of the cameras and surveillance procedures. Everyone has been keen as mustard and a big thank you to everyone for bringing so many homemade delicacies to the occasion. It promises to be a really great season.
Our traditional 24hr Osprey nest Protection Watch will run, as ever, from the first sign of eggs being laid, until the chicks are (hopefully) hatched and safe. This mammoth task is undertaken by volunteers and the ranger seven days a week, to keep our birds safe from human disturbance, deliberate and accidental, and also to collect behavioural observations for study. It is not too late to get involved in the Osprey watch this year– we always welcome new volunteers and give full training. You do not have to be an osprey expert, or twitcher, just patient, with an eye for details, and able to do a couple of hours in the hides occasionally. If you are interested in helping out or finding out more, please email the ranger on: email@example.com.
The meeting has taken place in unexpected sunshine and the birds visiting the feeding station and on the loch have not disappointed us. We have had three delicately pink Long-tailed Tit, a vibrant male and a female Redpoll, both Greater Spotted Woodpecker and several Treecreepers visit the feeders, half a dozen Teal on the loch and a very funny confrontation between a Red Squirrel and a female Mallard over the ownership of nuts, see our YouTube link for the whole story.