Hello people of the blog,

I trust you are all well. It's been a while since I wrote to you so I thought I'd send a quick update from Loch Garten. Osprey-wise, it's very much as you were. EJ is still in residence, spending her days perched on a low tree behind the nest, often slowly devouring a large trout. Today, she has been onto the nest once or twice and was even joined by George for a short while. He is coming and going with consistent inconsistency (is that a thing?) and occasionally even still attempts to mate with EJ. None of us are quite sure why, as the window for breeding has long since passed - any eggs laid now would require 5-6 weeks incubation with the ensuing chicks needing about 3 months to grow and strengthen before migration. That, by my calculations (i.e. using a calculator and a calendar), would take us up to the end of November! No osprey in their right mind would still be here by then and the prospect of a 3000 mile flight through wintry storms and cold winds is enough to make your talons curl! (I've just realised that ospreys' talons are curled but, you get my meaning...).

EJ on her regular perch.

So, despite Georges' misguided mating, EJ seems to tolerate him and has now stayed at Loch Garten for longer than last season (she was gone by the 14th July 2017). She is no doubt enjoying the fine weather we, and the rest of the UK, have been enjoying and making the most of the sunny skies. There is, however, no telling when she will depart so if you're contemplating a trip to see her this summer, my advice would be to do it sooner rather than later. She is visible from the centre or on our cameras on most days and you might even be lucky enough to witness one of the many intruding ospreys we've been seeing over the past few weeks. Always exciting!

The rest of the Caledonian Pine forest around Loch Garten is thriving as usual. Our feeders are currently inundated with freshly fledged juvenile birds, either gorging themselves or sitting nearby and begging their parents for food. The tit species are lovely to watch at this time of year - the juveniles have similar markings to the adults but are yellow and grey in colour - and the young great spotted woodpeckers are brilliant too, as they scamper down the tree trunks to find our peanut feeders.

Juvenile great spotted woodpecker at our feeder.

Our daily activities are in full flow too. On Tuesdays we have owl pellet dissection to enjoy, picking out tiny shrew and vole bones eaten and then spat out by hungry owls, while on Tuesdays and Thursdays we look through our moth trap from the night before to discover beautiful moths of all sizes and colours. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays you can join us as we go through our camera trap, set around the visitor centre overnight. Will we have videos of badgers? Maybe. Pine martens? Possibly. Woodpigeons? Almost certainly... Weekends are great fun with sweep netting and bug hunting available on the path for all to enjoy. On the 5th and 6th of August we are holding our Euro-pine Championships event, giving you the chance to test your sporting prowess against natures champions. Gold medals are up for grabs so see you then!

That's all from me for now, another update to follow shortly, and we'll let you know if EJ decides to head off anytime soon.

Bye for now!