It's hard not to be passionate about Highland Perthshire as a place to live in as well as visit. Hopefully these blogs prove the point!
We still have all five of our ospreys at Loch of the Lowes.
The female (LF15) will be the first to leave on migration. Last year, she flew away on 7th August so we are making the most of seeing her at the moment. The male (LM12) didn’t leave until the last day of August last year and currently spends a great deal of his time perched up on the trees overlooking the bay near the nest tree. He continues to catch fish for his youngsters but there can be many hours between these deliveries, then a sudden rush of catching three small fishes within the space of half an hour.
The juveniles also perch in the trees near the Hides and have been practising diving into the water feet first. These efforts can be quite clumsy, creating loud spraying splashes and sending ripples far and wide as they thrash their wings to lift up and away from the water and circle around to perch again before the next attempt.
A couple of days ago there was great excitement when it appeared one of the female juveniles (KP1) had caught her own fish! She was seen by several visitors diving into the water and rising with something clutched in her talons. It was only when she took her catch to the nest that we could use the camera to take a close look – a stick!
The noisiest of all the chicks is KP2, believed to be the only male, who calls and calls for food and even when he is presented with one, he continues to call … between bites. A fish delivery is usually preceded by one or more of the juveniles returning to the nest, calling enthusiastically, and when LM12 lands with his catch a tug of war ensues. If all 3 chicks are there, one finally wins out and claims the meal from its siblings with a great deal of squabbling and mantling of wings to ward off the others.
Almost every day there have been one or two intruding ospreys, causing the adult birds to fly into action to protect their nest, keen to show continued ownership. There have also been some stunning displays of acrobatics by the juveniles, almost turning somersaults in the air as they swoop, dive and hover to stretch their wing muscles and push their new found abilities to the limit.
We are enjoying a busy time at the visitor centre and our rangers are also out and about working hard on our local reserves doing essential conservation work. It is amazing how fast the season is passing and we are more than delighted to report a successful breeding season across the board. Not only 3 healthy chicks for the ospreys but numerous young for great crested grebe, goosander, pheasant, great spotted woodpecker, yellowhammer etc and, of course, red squirrel kittens and fallow deer fawns.
Visitor Centre Assistant