Good afternoon,

Just a quick one from me today, really to let you all know that the situation with EJ and her eggs hasn't really changed except that we are now certain that the eggs won't hatch. Although she is currently sitting on them, EJ has been away from the nest for whole days over the past week or so (including on Tuesday which was particularly wet and cold). Her instinct is clearly still telling her to incubate but there is surely no chance that the eggs will have remained viable while left for so long. George continues to appear sporadically, often landing on the nest for a couple of minutes and then disappearing for the rest of the day but is not bringing fish when he does appear meaning EJ is still having to go off and fish for herself.

EJ on her eggs

As some of you may know, EJ has been at the Loch Garten nest every year since 2003. She's an amazing bird and this year she turned 21 years old! The team here wanted to mark the occasion so our retail manager (and incredible baker) Julie Q baked an amazing birthday cake. Although EJ probably would have preferred a fish cake, Julie produced the chocolatey masterpiece below (unfortunately there's none left to share...sorry)!

Happy 21st EJ!

In the forest, things are starting to become busier as the first juvenile birds start to fledge from their nests. A couple of visitors told me of their delight in seeing two young crested tits being fed by their mother next to the Two Lochs Trail and I've noticed a few fluffy chaffinches who have clearly just left the nest too. The redstarts have been posing nicely in front of the centre this morning...hopefully their young will emerge soon if they've had a successful season. I always look forward to seeing the young blue, coal and great tits as they appear, looking similar to the adults but with much more grey and yellow to their plumage. With this warmer weather we're also seeing lots of red squirrel activity and, although I'm yet to witness it first hand, a few otter sightings on Loch Garten. If you're out and about early, keep an eye on the loch for that distinctive ripple as an otter silently swims past. It really is a magical moment!

See you all soon.