And so another year has begun… one which promises to be a particularly exciting year for those of us lucky enough to live in Scotland. With the arrival of 2014 comes the 2nd Year of Homecoming, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles to name just a few things… oh, and the small matter of an independence referendum!
It’s also an exciting year for the Scottish Wildlife Trust as we proudly celebrate our 50th Anniversary. There will be lots of exciting events happening to celebrate our golden year, including of course here at Loch of the Lowes. We’ll tell you more about that another time…
Meanwhile, down on the reserve we’ve been enjoying a day of sunshine, which has been something of a rarity of late. The woodland birds and the squirrels have certainly been making the most of it as the feeding station has been a flurry of activity throughout the day.
I observed a particularly comical episode involving a red squirrel as I was sat having my lunch earlier. The individual in question was performing gravity defying acrobatics, hanging upside down on its hind legs from the branch of a tree whilst trying in vain to break through the wire mesh of a peanut feeder to get at the nuts within. At one point it was clinging on by just the one leg and I was sure it was going to fall off. Why go to all that trouble I wondered, when there are several squirrel feeder boxes nearby? He obviously enjoyed the challenge!
Other sightings highlights include a lone female greenfinch – sadly a relatively infrequent visitor to the feeders nowadays, a water rail seen wandering in front of the observation hide and a trio of male bullfinches that were spotted yesterday by our eagle-eyed residential volunteers Amelia and Chantal, at the far end of the loch.
On the osprey news front there’s very little to report on Blue YD except to say that he is fine and continues to fish around the same small stretch of river and nearby lagoons on the Mauritania-Senegal border.
Finally, we were all saddened to hear the news from Loch Garten yesterday that Caledonia (their tagged 2012 female chick) has been found dead in Seville, Spain where she had been residing for the past 18 months, following a suspected collision in foggy conditions. Like Blue YD, Caledonia had been very settled and seemed to be thriving. Our thoughts are with our RSPB colleagues, the volunteers and everyone associated with Loch Garten at this difficult time.