The staff, volunteers and visitors alike at Loch of the Lowes are all eagerly awaiting the arrival of Ospreys from their wintering grounds far to the south. This time of year is always a tense one, with excited anticipation mixing with frantic worry: will our resident birds make it through migration safely? I can scarcely believe it is nearly seven months since the last birds left here in the autumn- where has the winter gone?
We are already seeing some signs of ospreys on the move- our colleagues in southern France (Stephanie, Paul and Mathieu) tell us they now have Ospreys passing through, and there have been some reports of birds already in the UK. One of our Osprey Watch volunteers Ron saw an osprey locally yesterday, flying north, so it is not too soon to be watching the skies.
Many of these early sightings will be of birds moving through going further north to far northern Scotland or even Scandinavia, but it is possible that Perthshire birds are not far away by now- on average our resident female “ Lady” arrives during the last week of March most years.
Preparations for the season ahead here are nearly complete, with extensive camera maintenance and setup work complete. We are also welcoming seasonal staff and a new crop of volunteers who will be helping us this season. We will all be helping keep a keen eye out from the hides for any birds arriving – and you can too on the webcam which is now live on the Osprey nest.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile we are all enjoying the sun on snow, Red Squirrels comic courting and Great Crested Grebes dancing on the loch- spring at Loch of the Lowes is wonderful!
Lastly, a quick update on Blue YD who is still going strong in Senegal: On the 10h of March he deiced to head back to the coast from his favorite inland river haunts, in what is becoming a common trip. Amazingly he can make this journey of 200km in just a few hours- from 12noon to 7pm to be precise! He is now back hunting amongst the waves, but will he stay on the coast now or commute back and forth all summer?