Winter Wildlife Diary 14th Feb

I am sometimes asked what the “osprey” ranger does all winter here at Loch of the Lowes, so I thought I’d give you all an insight into my week this week- which was as typical as any given that this job is never predictable!

On Monday my two current residential volunteers and I did our weekly formal Loch patrols, counting birds, cleaning up rubbish along the roadside, checking mink monitoring devices and changing memory cards in camera traps used for wildlife monitoring. In the afternoon we had a meeting with another local ranger service- Athol estates – with whom we often cooperate  on public events etc. Lastly I did some interviews for the upcoming osprey season Species Protection volunteers- a vital role in the months ahead- and the satellite tracking download for Blue YD this week.

On Tuesday the three of us made an all day outreach educational visit to Tulloch primary school in Perth , working with four different P2 and p3 classes of nearly 80 children. It was a great delight to play ” Nature Detectives ” with these enthusiastic kids and seeing their faces light up as they discovered more of their local wildlife using clues they were able to handle such as: real deer antler, bird feathers , scats and bones! We had loads of fun acting them all out too.

Wednesday was an office day I spent writing: emails; a magazine article about our ospreys; a talk on our local reserves  to present next week to a local members group;  and a reserve report for one of our volunteer management committees- local people who take an interest in their local reserve and help make the decisions about them. My  volunteers were working hard digitising all sorts of records of wildlife sightings from all our local reserves and submitting them online to national databases.

Thursday we were meant to be tree planting at Balnaguard Glen but the snow and high winds meant this was postponed so we took the opportunity to do some snow tracking of mammals instead- here’s Chantal and Sara hard at it! We found good evidence of red and roe deer, hares, badgers and a possible set of pine marten tracks. The rest of the day we spent shovelling snow and gritting car parks and tracks for visitors safety.

Snow Tracking at Balnaguard Glen

Snow Tracking at Balnaguard Glen

Friday has been an eventful one so far: after dealing with some public questions about unusual bird ID, and dealing with a sad natural deer death on the reserve, I followed up a report of a problem on the Tummel Shingle island access path, to find a huge landslip had washed the path into the river! The path will be closed for quite some time!

Landslip at Ballinluig Tummel Island 2014- path closed!

Landslip at Ballinluig Tummel Island 2014

Well, that’s another week gone- and osprey season is only a few weeks away!

Ranger Emma


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I am sometimes asked what the “osprey” ranger does all winter here at Loch of the Lowes, so I thought I’d give you all an insight into my week this …

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