So the wait for eggs is on- we are watching the nest 24hs a day for the first signs of our ospreys laying the first of what we hope will be the first of two or three eggs this season. We are all dying to know whether our veteran female is still fertile- she is undoubtedly the most experienced and capable osprey mother we know of. We have every faith in her and her partner as parents, so fingers crossed!
Some people have asked if we are doing our 24hr nest protection watch this year and if it has started- the answer is YES! From now until the chicks are safely through their first weeks, we will have staff and volunteers on site 24hrs day to observe and protect the birds and their nest.
We do this because our birds are still at risk from:
Egg thieves- still a real risk, and Ospreys a very real target. One UK man was convicted just this week in Inverness court of illegal possession of 2300 illegal birds eggs, and trading them overseas- including osprey eggs.
Our very high profile at Loch of the Lowes, and “Lady’s” reputation, makes this a very desirable target for eggs thieves. We have had several incidents here in the past and must keep up our guard.
Technology such as cameras etc is making things easier for us- and them- but there is no substitute for human observation and skill in protecting birds and nests.
There are newer risks too: photographers and amateur wildlife filmmakers can be unaware or unscrupulous, and can cause untold damage to nesting birds by getting too close and causing the birds to abandon eggs and young chicks. There is a need to educate people about safe and legal distances from which to observe and enjoy wildlife.
We hope that the deterrent of our determined and professional nest protection team and our high tech equipment means that our Ospreys can continue to nest in peace for us all to enjoy! We hope one day this kind of species protection work will be unecessary but for now, the watch goes on….
Lastly a heads up that we have just uploaded some fantastic new camera clips to our Youtube channel (swtlowesranger) of various wildlife around the reserve, such as otter, beaver, pine marten, heron and more. These clips have been collected by the dedicated efforts of our residential volunteers Kirstin Mair, Ainoa Pravia and Emma Castle Smith, using portable camera traps, and found by trawling through many hours of footage from fixed cameras for these gems- thanks team!
Click here to go to the first video: http://youtu.be/YEEL2e4Vxs4