Friday, 4 April 2014

Scotland Birding Trip: Ospreys, The return of the Old Lady

Monday 31st March: Day 4

Another dawn start on the final day of the trip.
Not wanting to waste the time left, we decide not to go looking for the Black Duck and instead plan to start the day around the Loch Garten area and gradually work our way back South to Glasgow Airport late afternoon.
A couple of circuits in the car around the Nethy Bridge and surrounding roads looking for Capercaillie but it doesn't produce any sightings of the huge Grouse.
We park up and take a short walk along one of the trail paths, Coal Tits are seen and heard frequently along with Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits. A Great Spotted Woodpecker is constantly drumming nearby.
Then the sound of Crossbills flying overhead, a brief flight view and they disappear through the trees. On the walk back towards the car three Crossbills land in the tops of the pine trees closest to where we are standing.
2 males and a female bird start to feed on the cones. I grab a couple of photos.  The photo below was the only time one sat up for me.

We leave and head for Lochindorb. The Loch has a ruined castle, once the haunt of the 14th century outlaw The Wolf of Badenoch. The name Lochindorb comes from the Gaelic for "Loch of trouble". 
The castle and Loch are surrounded by mile after mile of moorland, home to many Red Grouse and it doesn't take long to locate plenty of them. 

Meadow Pipit are plentiful and the surrounding moorland is home to a colony of breeding Common Gulls.

Meadow Pipit

No Ospreys spotted around the Loch this year, and no Black-throated Divers were found on the Loch itself.
Plenty of Oystercatchers and Lapwings around, but apart from the Grouse and Common Gulls the area was pretty quiet.

Common Gull

With time quickly passing, we left this area and headed further South. Turning off at Dalwhinnie for petrol allowed me to add Grey Wagtail, when one was spotted from the bridge.
Having not seen an Osprey my last chance of an Osprey sighting on this trip comes when we call in at Loch of the Lowes Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserve.
The timing was spot on, The male having returned days earlier and upon entering the reserve centre we were told that the female had made her return that very morning.
The female known as "lady" has returned for her 24th year, in that time she has laid sixty plus eggs and raised 50 chicks.The male with her this year is her 4th mate, and their was plenty of mating taking place while we were there.
The reserve staff told us that another female was on the nest when she returned, but she quickly saw the other bird off, and they don't except to see the other female around the Loch again.
I will be watching the live webcam broadcasts with even more interest this year. You can follow Lady's progress here. Loch of the Lowes Ospreys.
I highly recommend you take a look. You will get to hear the Ospreys calling and the sound of wingbeats as the birds land and take off from the nest site. The camera also has infra red for night vision. The bird sounds around the Loch are well worth tuning in for.

The reserve centre staff could not have been happier and news quickly spread of the birds return. The next people to arrive were the Scottish Television crew.
The hide was by now getting quite crowded, but room was made for the cameraman to get his shots of the birds for the news bulletin later that night.
The nest site at this location offers much better views of the birds than the one at Loch Garten, here you get to look across and into the nest rather than just get a view of the top of a bird's head at Loch Garten.
Pairs of Goldeneye and Goosanders were also on the Loch but it was the Ospreys that stole the show.
You can follow the Loch of the Lowes Blog here: Loch of the Lowes Blog


A fantastic end to our 4 day birding trip.

The trip produced 1 British Lifer, and 17 additions to the year list.
A total of 91 species seen

I can't wait to return.


  1. This is an excellent blog and I shared it on Facebook, I hope you don't mind.

  2. Hi Christof
    Thank you for your comments.