As we are entering the hopefully quiet and routine long period of incubation on the osprey nest, I thought I’d write today mostly about what else is happening on the Loch of the Lowes and our other Perthshire reserves.
We will have to wait until at least the 25th of May to see which of the four osprey eggs will hatch, and though it can seem like a long wait for us, imagine what its like for the birds! Those of us doing the 24hr Nest Protection Watch will be keeping the birds safe 7 days a week until then- that’s a lot of sleep deprivation. Hopefully we will not have any incidences of human disturbance, or eggs damaged by bad weather etc, and we have at least one healthy chick at the end of it all to celebrate, making it all well worth while.
Meanwhile, there is now doubt that spring is late here in Perthshire this year. On all five of the local SWT reserves which I take care of, the plants in particular are 3-4 weeks behind normal. My first botanical surveys of the year have been pretty depressing, but what I have noticed though is a sudden rush this week of trees coming into leaf and plants budding- things normally separated by some weeks are all coming on together. There are Willow, Alder and Hazel catkins everywhere, Celandine, Wood Sorrel and Wood Anemone, and Dogs Mercury all in flower on the banks of the loch. The first bumblebees and moths are flying, as well as lots and lots of bats, but virtually no butterflies yet.
At Balnaguard Glen we have finally finished planting over a hundred donated Scots Pine trees to help diversify the woodland habitat- we have planted over 3000 trees here in the last three years. We had planned to plant these in early March but the site was under several feet of snow until early April- a special thanks to the hardy volunteers who braved the cold to help plant on this windy mountain.
At Keltneyburn meadow the famous wildflower display is only just getting started, and the orchids are yet to appear- but give it a couple of weeks and we will have a carpet of Bluebells.
At Tummel Shingle Islands, the Common and Black-headed Gull breeding colony is in full swing- there are more than 400 birds on the island this week already sitting on eggs. With high water levels all winter, the shingle banks have moved yet again and created more new land in some places and eroded others. Loads of otter spraint and tracks here lately too.
If you would like to know more about these other Perthshire reserves, check out :
And if you’d like to get involved with practical conservation work days on them throughout the year, contact Emma the Ranger at Loch of the Lowes.