Here at loch of the Lowes spring appears to have sprung, and summer is most definitely under way. The beavers are now a regular sighting (it’s my opinion that the ‘beavering hour’ is between 8 and 9 pm), the lilies are in flower and earlier today there were 3 families of goosanders spotted, one with 4 chicks, one with 6, and the other with 9. We managed to catch one of the families on tape, but how many chicks can you count…?
I myself can confirm that summer is here as I have spent the last three evenings taking my life into my hands and swimming in the River Braan, just up from the rumbling bridge, where grey wagtails swoop low over the cascading water and the sun’s rays catch unsuspecting osprey watch volunteers who haven’t applied enough sun tan lotion.
Speaking of sunburn, we had our annual species protection officer (SPO) trip to Handa Island two weekends ago where the weather was so sublime that the vividness of the seas blue was matched only by the redness of my arms. The cliffs were crawling with guillemots and razorbills, we also caught a flash of some puffins, and there were rumours of some cetacean activity although as ever they managed to evade my binoculars. It was a great weekend and a wonderful way to wrap up the osprey egg season, and although I leave loch of the Lowes with a slight sense of disappointment at there being no chicks, I also take with me the good nature and generosity of all the volunteers I’ve had the good fortune to meet over the past 3 months. It has been a real joy to become part of a community where people are so passionate about wildlife and understanding of the need to protect it.
Finally, the Midsummer solstice family fun day is currently under way to celebrate the changing of the seasons, and will be on all day tomorrow.
Dan Hobson, Volunteer Species Protection Officer