Perthshire is well known as a birdwatchers must-see destination, with a great variety of countryside and terrains, meaning that the region plays host to many domestic and migratory birds. Just up the road from Dunkeld House, is a hidden gem of a visitor attraction at the Loch of the Lowes, run by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The whole loch and surrounding countryside is a wildlife reserve and the star attraction is the pair of breeding Ospreys.
Loch of the Lowes Reserve, which is a designated Site of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) is an easy 10 minute drive from the hotel or for the more energetic there is a footpath from the village up to the reserve and it will take you just over an hour. Be warned it’s quite an energetic climb up Bray Street, past Dunkeld Smokehouse, and known locally as Coronary Hill!
The centre is open year round (slightly restricted hours during the winter) and depending on the time of year that you visit, sightings might include migratory birds such as greylag geese and sand martins, or resident birds such as woodpeckers and cuckoos. Red squirrels and a beaver are also resident in and around the loch, and if you are lucky you might see the otters, too.
However, the main draw, at this time of year is the breeding ospreys and their chicks. This year, there are 3 young ospreys, 2 females and a male, born in May. All 3 were successfully ringed within the last few days to allow identification, if they are spotted at a later date on their journey as they migrate from Dunkeld to West Africa later in the year. The chicks are now experimenting with flight and the male was recently been spotted with a fish from the loch.
Visitors to the loch can view the activity in the nest via a live camera feed relayed into the visitor centre. Or, just a short walk round the loch is an easily accessible hide which is just 150m from the nest.
To keep up to date with happenings around the loch and the wonderful ospreys, read their blog, here.