Longest day.

The longest day started overcast & dreich but the saying “rain before 7 – off by 11” was certainly true on the loch.

So far it has been peaceful at the nest with no intruders. Our female has been at the nest all day with just short flights over the loch. The chick is growing rapidly & is now 20 days old. It is developing a wonderful ginger tint & as viewers of our webcam will have noticed, is very mobile around the nest. Both adults continue to add occasional sticks to the nest to keep the chick secure.
Our male brought a brown trout to the nest at about 1pm & it was soon devoured by female & chick.

The reserve is packed with fledglings & adults are busy collecting flies & caterpillars to feed them. Yellowhammer were spotted feeding two chicks near bushes outside the visitor centre this morning. Visitors to the hides have been treated to great sightings of male & female reed buntings, willow warblers & blackcap.

There were huge numbers of Canada geese & many goslings. The goosander females are fortunate to still have small armadas of young following – one has 4 of her original 6, another amazingly has 11 of her 13. Pike are probably the main reason for their losses.

The great crested grebes nesting in the lily pads are very photogenic just now being surrounded by newly opened yellow waterlilies. The male is quite spectacular in his defense efforts when others enter his tolerance zone. He flattens his body onto the water & raises all his head feathers becoming a formidable sight to intruders. If that is not enough to enforce a quick exit then he charges from the depths towards the daring upstarts ensuring their spectacular running take off in retreat!

Most of the trees have reached full leaf & the early lime green leaves have darkened. The abundance of emerging insects are feeding swallows, swifts, house martins & sand martins by day.

It is now peak season for bats to deliver their pups & perfect timing to also take advantage of insects during the few hours of summer darkness. A single bat can eat 3000 midges in a single night so good news for us too.

The team here at Loch of the Lowes continue to monitor the osprey nest 24/7 to ensure security & record all behaviour for future comparison
I have been really fortunate this season to be on duty to see so many milestones – the return of first osprey in last week of March (in a blizzard), the return of our amazing female & of course the arrival of her fourth egg. Ospreys in particular never cease to amaze me how ever often I see them & so with holiday season approaching I hope you will come to visit us – you will not be disappointed.

Val Gall
Wildlife Interpretation Officer

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The longest day started overcast & dreich but the saying “rain before 7 – off by 11” was certainly true on the loch. So far it has been peaceful at …

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