This year’s osprey watch started with a beautiful sunrise on a chilly April morning. I began my first shift with excitement and some trepidation as it dawned on me that this sunrise marked the start of two months of round the clock protection for the ospreys. A daunting task for just a couple of full time staff and volunteers!
Only a few shifts in and I’m already getting up to speed with osprey monitoring, with plenty of help from regular volunteers, staff and visitors. Saturday’s excitement included several intruder ospreys scouting the area before they were chased off by the breeding pair. This morning we got some good views of our male (LM12) bringing in a large brown trout for the female (LF15).
I’ve been enjoying seeing the other wildlife at Loch of the Lowes, particularly the red squirrels scampering about during the early hours of the morning. On Saturday evening I was lucky enough to spot three beavers at dusk. Yesterday’s excitement was a visiting Nuthatch, spotted by our ranger Charlotte. I’m starting to become familiarise with the common waterbirds on the Loch (Goosander, Golden Eye, Great Crested Grebe) and yesterday I was very pleased to spot and identify a female Smew, a rare visitor.
While staff and volunteers have been busy with the start of Osprey watch, the ospreys have been busy preparing for nesting. The female has been arranging the nest for the eggs and keeping guard. The male has been providing fish and bringing in plenty of nesting material. There have been regular mating attempts and the female has been showing some signs of settling on the nest for laying, so hopefully she won’t keep us waiting much longer!
Jane Hamilton, Species Protection Officer