And into 2022 We Go!

Happy New Year!
Last year at this time, we were under national lockdown restrictions and Loch of the Lowes was closed, so the fact we’re starting 2022 open and welcoming visitors is a much better position. Long may the progress continue!

January 8th, Loch of the Lowes cloaked in freezing mist. Photo by Grant Robertson 2022


For both the Visitor Centre and Ranger teams at Lowes, last year was a difficult one to navigate due to the pandemic. At least we’d already put the required health and safety precautions in place the year before (screens, ticketing to limit numbers/sanitising stations etc) so when the lockdown ended and we re-opened on 1st May, our working practice was set up and ready to go.

We were delighted to welcome our ospreys back and very pleased LM12 (our usual male) and NC0 (new female since 2020) took up residence in the original nest in full view of the webcam. Due to the pair having shunned the nest in 2020, a great deal of discussion and expert advice led to work being undertaken through the winter of 20/21 to remove some tree limbs and make it more desirable. Ospreys like nest sites with a 360 degree view, often choosing dead trees or those with a sparse canopy. In the 30 years since it was first used, the visibility from the Lowes’ nest had changed due to growth in the beautiful Scots Pine and surrounding trees.

The ‘judicious pruning’ worked and our breeding pair settled in for the season! For detailed information, this previous blog takes a look at the data


LM12 and NC0 2021
There were a lot of practical covid related challenges to overcome for the ranger team, visitor centre team and volunteers to safely undertake the 24/7 Osprey Watch but with co-operation and perseverance this was achieved.
Overall, the osprey season went well, although the early death of the youngest, 3rd chick, was a brutal illustration of the harsh reality of survival of the fittest against cold, wet weather and demanding older siblings. LM12 and NC0 raised the two remaining healthy chicks to fledging, and demonstrated their awe inspiring skills in flying, fishing and, when hassled by intruding ospreys, bold nest protection. The chicks were ringed, LR1 and LR2, and the oldest (probably female) left on migration in early August, being the first (observed at Lowes) to go before her Mum, NC0.

After thefts and the disgusting mess left by dirty campers and disrespectful public between lockdowns, 2021 saw a car park barrier and CCTV cameras installed. This, touching wood, has greatly improved the situation.

COP26 in Glasgow highlighted the ongoing and increasing climate crisis and films, newspapers and social media brought information on the currently unsustainable human impact on the world. At Lowes we have a ‘Tackling Climate Change’ wall of simple swaps, changes and actions which can be carried out by individuals, joining the (now tens of millions) of everyday citizens (of all ages) and scientists, engineers and (occasionally) politicians working to protect life on Earth. We can all do our part, if not for ourselves then for the innocent wildlife who share our planet.

It was a good year for Scottish beavers. Since 2009, the Trust has worked to restore these benign architects of the wild to Scotland, achieving this goal in 2019. Except they were still not legally allowed to be translocated within Scotland beyond designated sites. In early November, after a long fight for permission, Tom Bowser (Argaty Red Kites) secured a licence from NatureScot to bring beavers onto his land near Doune. On the 24th of the same month, Lorna Slater, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, came to Loch of the Lowes to formally announce the much-needed Government permission to allow beavers to be translocated within Scotland.

This is a major step forward for Scottish beavers and interviews with Raz (our Perthshire Ranger) and Lorna Slater featured on TV.

Despite the vagaries of weather and corona virus rules, staff and volunteers ducked and dived their way through the year. Our lovely visitor centre assistant Amy, who joined us for the 2019 season, stayed on for an unexpected but much appreciated two further seasons, leaving us at the end of October ’21. Duke of Edinburgh Award students kept up their volunteering commitments, and, while we couldn’t welcome bus parties or hold live, face to face talks, several successful events took place via Zoom.

The wildlife took little notice of the human drama, carrying on as usual with their free, uninhibited lives. The red squirrels are exploring newly arranged ropes in the feeding station, a pine marten has taken to cheekily eating the squirrels’ peanuts, and black throated divers graced the loch. A growing number of nuthatches now reside on the reserve and compete with great spotted woodpeckers and yellowhammers for popularity amongst photographers.

This June marks 53 years since the Scottish Wildlife Trust purchased Lowes and, momentously, 50 years since the first Visitor Centre opened its doors. We have plans in progress to celebrate the occasion!

No-one knows what 2022 will bring covid-wise, weather wise or osprey wise but the Lowes team is ready to take it on. From March, the core staff numbers will more than double with new colleagues being recruited for public facing roles in the visitor centre and assistant rangers on the reserves side.
We hope you’ll be able to visit us over the coming months!


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Happy New Year! Last year at this time, we were under national lockdown restrictions and Loch of the Lowes was closed, so the fact we’re starting 2022 open and welcoming …

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