Anyone visiting Loch of the Lowes over the past few days could be forgiven for thinking that autumn has come early, with damp and dreary weather dominating proceedings. Thankfully however, we still have plenty of wildlife to remind us that summer hasn’t passed us by yet at least!
Our young osprey fledglings continue to explore their local surroundings, despite the rather wet conditions. A visitor reported to us this afternoon that they’d been lucky enough to witness two of them in flight across the loch, apparently engaged in a game of aerial tag! There has also been further evidence of fishing practice as the young birds hone their hunting skills.
Speaking of tags, the latest batches of satellite data for FR3 & FR4 make for interesting viewing. As you can see from the Google Earth generated aerial photos, neither bird has ventured far from the nest at this stage.
FR3 has been the slightly more adventurous of the two, making at least a couple of short trips; one across the loch to the south of the visitor centre and one northwards in the direction of Loch of Craiglush. It’s still early days though and we would expect to see them exploring more of the local area over the next few weeks as their confidence on the wing grows.
Another reassuring sign that summer hasn’t deserted us entirely yet has been the large mixed flocks of martins (house and sand), swallows and swifts skimming low over the surface of the loch, presumably hawking for small insects that haven’t drowned in the rain. This prompted me to look up the collective nouns for these charming summer visitors: groups of martins are variously known as a “circlage”, “flight”, “gulp”, “richness” or “swoop”? A group of swallows is referred to as a “kettle”, while swifts can be found in “boxes”, “flocks” or my personal favourite, “screaming frenzies”!
Visitor Centre Assistant Manager