Life is going well for our breeding ospreys and their two chicks. The chicks are now 18 and 13 days old and are looking a bit different from their first few days! They have lost their light grey fluffy down and are looking much darker. True feathers start to grow at around 3 weeks of age, so they will soon begin to look a bit more like proper ospreys! The older chick has begun to move around and stretch its wings, getting a feel for its growing body. The younger chick is catching up quickly and despite being smaller is quite feisty, holding its own during feeding time when the two chicks are begging for fish.
The black throated divers have been spotted again and there have been plenty of sightings of great crested grebes. There have been lots of little mallard ducklings bobbing about on the Loch and more recently we have spotted pheasant chicks near the feeding station. There seem to be two pheasant families at the moment – one female has 6 chicks and another has 9.
As mentioned in an earlier blog, we are unfortunately down to one blue tit chick in our nest box. The chicks were left alone for one night during heavy rain and sadly only one survived the cold. Luckily, this lone chick still looks strong and we are hopeful that the blue tit pair might attempt a second brood as it is still early in the year.
We do have some very exciting news concerning another family of young chicks. The SPO team was thrilled to discover that a tawny owl has been raising her brood in one of the nest boxes on the reserve. Two fluffy chicks were spotted in the box as the female flew in to deliver food to them. We expect that they will begin to fledge within the next few weeks.
Osprey watch is still running but this will be our final blog as a collective SPO team. The summer ranger team will be taking over soon and one by one we will be leaving Lowes. We would like to take the opportunity to once again thank our amazing team of local volunteers who have been helping with osprey watch this year. Thank you also to everyone who has been keeping up with our blogs! We have all had a wonderful time on Osprey Watch and will be very sad to leave. It has been lovely to see the pair raising their two chicks and to have the opportunity to help protect these wonderful birds.
Good luck to LM12, LF15 and their chicks, for the rest of the season and their long migration south!
Jane Hamilton, Michelle Branson, Freya Way and Chloe Fourneret.
SPO Team, over and out!