Sunday, March 28, 2010

Scotland's oldest Osprey returns to Perthshire

The UK's oldest known breeding female osprey has returned to Scotland for the 20th consecutive year.

The female bird has amazed staff at the Scottish Wildlife Trust's (SWT) Loch of the Lowes wildlife reserve.

It was spotted landing on its usual nesting site, known as an eyrie, on Tuesday, having completed a 3,000 mile migration from West Africa.

At an estimated 25 years old, she has reached three times the average lifespan of an osprey.

Emma Rawling, SWT's Perthshire ranger, said: "We are truly amazed at the tenacity and endurance of this particular female osprey.

"Defying her age, she has made it back to us again and from initial sightings she looks lin remarkably good condition."

It is expected that the female osprey's breeding partner, a male osprey identified with a green leg ring, will arrive within a week.

This resident male will then chase away any other males that may be hovering around, before the happy couple renew their bond and start breeding.

'Bated breath'
The female osprey is known to have laid 55 eggs, 46 of which hatched into live chicks, grew to maturity, left the nest and headed off on th elong and dangerous flight to Africa.

Hopefully, these young adults will return to Scotland to establish their own eyrie and raise another generation of ospreys.

Ms Rawling added: "We will be watching the nest with bated breath to see if our female can hatch any chicks again this year."

Throughout the breeding season the eyrie is visible, via an unobtrusive nest camera, on screens in the visitor centre and on the trust's website.

A team of about 70 volunteers watch the nest 24 hours a day to safeguard any eggs from vandals, thieves and poachers.

Mainly through the dedication of the RSPB, amateur ornithologists and a generous, enthusiastic public, about 200 pairs of osprey are currently known to breed in Scotland.

Why Migrate
Birds migrate to Northern locations to make use of the longer days. Raising young birds is very labour intensive and the chicks require a steady source of protein. The adult birds need to spend every waking hour feeding their young.

Breeding and raising their chicks in the north enables them to spend the maximum amount of time hunting and feeding their young.

Spring Hares do Shakespeare in the Park?

I think it's a scene from Romeo and Juliet. What do you think?

Monday, March 1, 2010

View of Ben Vorlich from Killin

There are many spectacular ways to see the Scottish mountains.

Here two paragliders have just launched themselves off the summit of Meall A Choire Leith near Killin.

It's not for everyone but be assured there are more sedate and less dramatic routes through the mountains, forests and nature parks.

This photo shows Ben Vorlich in the background and remember, if you do visit the picturesque town of Killin, be sure to visit the spectacular falls.