This blog is written by Abernethy staff throughout the changing seasons here on the reserve.
During summer it's likely there'll be more frequent blogs as the ospreys return to breed at the Loch Garten nest and the drama unfolds.
We hope you enjoy following life at Abernethy reserve.
Thanks for reading!
Hi everyone. This being my first blog of the season, I should probably introduce myself. I’m Chris Tilbury and I am the Visitor Experience Manager here at Loch Garten for the summer. Now, the “Osprey-eyed” among you may think that I look vaguely familiar and you’d be right! I was previously a part of the Osprey team in 2014 (remember Millie, Seasca and Druie?) and some of you may even have met me last year, getting my feet wet with some pond dipping and other family activities.
So here I am, back for my third spell at Loch Garten and I have to say, it’s an absolute privilege! Already we’ve welcomed back our beautiful Ospreys, EJ and Odin, watched them reacquaint themselves with one another and witnessed the laying of three eggs. I can’t wait to discover what the rest of the season has in store for us. We’ve also had a fantastic number of visitors here at the Osprey centre (a big thank you to everyone who has taken the time to come and see us already) and I’ve been lucky enough to spend many hours chatting to lovely and interesting people (another big thank you to all those who have listened to me blabber on about ospreys!). Again, I’m looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible if, and when, you come to catch up with EJ and Odin.
This year we have an amazing team at the centre. I know Jess has been blogging already but over the next week or so each member of the team will take the chance to introduce themselves to you, as well as reporting the latest ‘nest news’.
And here we are - Team LG 2016! L-R Me (ie Chris!), Nimrod, Sarah L, Fergus and Sarah W.
On that note, we have seen some interesting weather over the past week or so. Over the weekend EJ was panting away in the warm spring sunshine (trying to lose heat, just like a dog), whereas only a few days before she was covered in snow! And now we have a mix of the two - driving snow showers and sunny intervals. She’s been doing a great job keeping those eggs nice and toasty though. The recent warmer weather has also brought back the first redstarts of the season, who have been investigating the nest boxes around the centre. We’ve now also got eight beautiful, turquoise goldeneye eggs on our “nestbox-cam” so fingers crossed for some kamikaze ducklings later in the year as they emerge for the first time (next time you’re in the centre, ask one of the team to show you footage of this from previous years – it’s brilliant!).
This season at the centre we’ve added a few bits and pieces to make your visit even better than normal (“Not possible”, you cry, but hear me out). Outside, under the Scots Pines we’ve got a brand new picnic bench which is already getting its fair share of use. We’d love people to bring along their lunch and spend some time munching away accompanied by the resident birds at our feeders. We’ve also upgraded the kids’ area of the centre with more books and activities (and some very colourful beanbags!). It’s the perfect place to relax after testing your strength with our Fish Challenge.
Our first picnic bench users - the Rodgers family from Anstruther!
Fergus, in kid's corner, getting to grips with The Gruffalo in Scots. Aw, bless!
So for now I’ll say goodbye, but I’ll be back soon with more news and hopefully will see lots of you at Loch Garten over the summer. Bye!
We like THREE of them with an EJ on top! Yes folks, as many of you will know by now, EJ has proven herself, yet again, to be a three-egg-girl and produced her third egg at around 10.20pm last night (Wednesday). Apologies, as I think the camera was off at the time due to a power cut at Carnyx’s end...but we got some beautiful night shots later on of EJ revealing her clutch to the world. This third egg is the 45th egg EJ has laid at the Loch Garten nest – she is certainly a productive bird!
There they are!!
An osprey angel!
Expectant dad Odin, taking his turn at incubating.
And breakfast for our girl after a busy night.
So, all that remains is for EJ and Odin to incubate and protect their nest and its precious cargo for the next 5 or so weeks, and fate willing, we’ll have a brood to coo over. Simple, eh? If only it were so. As we know, there are likely to be a few twists and turns in the story yet. Nothing in the world of wildlife is ever simple, so hold on to your hats folks!
A quick update on the image quality – Carnyx are being really helpful and assisting us with looking into satellite internet as an option. Currently we’re exploring planning permission requirements.
Business at the Osprey Centre has been steady, with a good flow of visitors over the Easter Holiday period coming to see our wonderful birds in the flesh. We’ve also had good views of crested tits on the feeders as well as the old faithful great spotted woodpeckers, siskins, chaffinches, coal tits etc. There have also been sightings of capercaillie lekking at Caper-watch – both in the flesh and on the cameras, which is encouraging.
Some sad news to pass on too I’m afraid, in that Rachel has reconsidered her career options and has decided to move on elsewhere. This has come as a big blow to all of us here, and we’ll all miss her hard work, dedication, and most of all her sense of fun and laughter. We wish her well and thank her for all her hard work at Loch Garten over the last two seasons. Rachel also spent the winter on Abernethy as a long term residential volunteer where she helped out with practical habitat management, mainly building up her muscles creating deadwood! She was a real pleasure to work with and to have on the team and we’ll all miss her presence greatly. BUT, as one door closes another opens, and I’m delighted to say that Chris Tilbury has taken over the role of Visitor Experience Manager for the season. Many of you will know Chris from previous years, so you’ll be satisfied that we’re in safe hands. Chris is an absolute star and has grabbed this new role with both hands. And some more positive news in that Chris’s promotion has opened the door for Fergus to be promoted too! So he joins the team as Visitor Experience Officer – he’d already proved himself to be an asset to the team in the short while that he was our Visitor Experience Volunteer Intern, so it’s a pleasure to be able to pay him for all his hard work!
So, the season is off to a grand start with our birds performing just as we would wish them to. I know the drama makes a juicier story, but to be honest, I’d rather a nice, uneventful season with three chicks fledging at the end of it. I hope that’s not too much to ask?!
TWO please!! Yes, that's right folks! EJ laid egg number two at around 6.30pm this evening (Sunday). This is obviously fantastic news and we're all delighted! There'll be a real buzz about the centre tomorrow! Thanks to those of you who have messaged the news. You're all on the ball!