Surrounded by birch woodlands and heather-clad hills, lochs don’t get much more picturesque or peaceful than Ruthven. The water here is fringed with sedge beds, making it a great place to see breeding Slavonian Grebes and Red-throated Divers.
Visit Loch Ruthven nature reserve in early spring to get the best views of the rare Slavonian Grebe from the hide. The Grebe are looking their best from April in a beautiful red and golden plumage and ruby red eye – in the spring sunshine they shine like jewels on the loch. Lucky visitors may be in with a chance to see courting pairs dancing or nest building behaviour in the sedge beds from the hide.
Glacial activity has left large, scarred boulders strewn around the loch edge. The woodlands and moorlands along the hide path and around the reserve are home to an array of lichens and fungi and a host of woodland birds including Willow Warbler, Long-tailed Tit and Tree Pipit.
RSPB Scotland works to create the ideal conditions for wildlife at Loch Ruthven. Most of our efforts focus on the Slavonion Grebes who call the reserve home, as they are a Schedule 1 protected species. You can do your bit by staying 20m away from sedgebeds and Schedule 1 species while on the reserve. In the breeding season, we ask visitors to avoid certain parts of the reserve. This reduces the risk of disturbing the Slavonian Grebes and gives them extra protection during this important time of year.
We monitor the population and breeding success of the Slavonian Grebes and have a small team of volunteers who record sightings and Grebe behaviour from the hide. We are learning more about this mysterious species and the factors that affect the population and breeding. To protect the Grebes at Loch Ruthven, we regularly check for the presence of Mink on the loch and undertake work on the sedge beds to keep them in good condition for the Grebes’ floating nests.
The remains of a crannog are located just off the reserve, and are sometimes visible when the loch waters are low. We work with Historic Environment Scotland to protect the crannog. You can also help us protect this scheduled monument by not climbing, planting or picnicing on the crannog.