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Our work here

Portrait of Slavonian grebe

Image: Steve Garvie

Loch Ruthven is the UK's most important breeding site for Slavonian grebes, with some 50 per cent of our breeding pairs.

Its scenic setting provides a memorable visitor experience, with ospreys, red-throated and black-throated divers among other highlights. The RSPB is managing the loch for all its wildlife, especially the grebes.

Saving Slavonians

Our work includes research into factors that affect the breeding success of Slavonian grebes, such as wave action. We are trialling ways to combat wave action, which may rise with climate change, including reducing recreational disturbance. We are also extending the sedge beds to provide more nesting habitat. Meanwhile we are working for the benefit of other important breeding birds and otters.

Other habitats

We are managing the reserve's woodland and moorland for the benefit of their woodland birds, breeding waders and orchids. Measures will include controlled grazing, while expanding the birch woodland and cutting back on rushes. We will also influence some farmland management around the loch.

Keeping tabs

We are monitoring breeding Slavonian grebes and other red-list species annually. We also monitor other breeding birds and orchids, and check for mink and pike, which are potential threats. We use aerial photography to check the extent of the sedge beds every five years, and also study how recreational activities affect the park.

Reaching out

We are working to build our base of supporters, and are maintaining facilities for at least 6,000 visitors per year. We will promote environmental education by liaising with at least one educational establishment and running occasional events. Our volunteer warden scheme will help us engage with more visitors directly and promote lifelong learning.

We will also demonstrate ways of managing Slavonian grebe habitat to other loch owners. This will include publishing our results, and inviting specialists to see our work for themselves.

Working with others

We will continue building support for our management plan from key stakeholders, including neighbours, fishermen and Scottish Natural Heritage, and will liaise with other landowners of Slavonian grebe sites. As an important visitor attraction, we make a significant contribution to the local economy, and we will continue working to generate media coverage.