We are welcoming that start of a new season and also the start of a new team. For those of you who don't know, I am officially taking over as the new manager (for those of you with suggestions please post them to me, our composting loo needs some more roughage!). We have a mix of new osprey enthusiasts and some old hands. Steven and Blair have returned for another season and we have Lucy and Alex bringing their experience to the team. Also joining our flock for the season is couple Laura and Chris who are our long term volunteers. There is a team photo waiting in the wings, but you will have to wait until Chris arrives for us all to be together. Until then I will let the team introduce themselves!
My name is Alex and I’m a new starter here at Loch Garten. I will be part of the Visitor Experience Team and arrive with four years’ experience of working in Face-to-Face engagement in and around my home county of Nottinghamshire. From early in my childhood, I’ve been inspired to work in conservation as a result of being surrounded by ancient oak woodland once roamed by Robin Hood. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to work in such a stunning part of Scotland and can’t wait to get the Centre up and running. Since first visiting the reserve in 2015, I’ve been coming back regularly to check in on EJ and am crossing my fingers she returns for another season. I’m a dedicated and passionate conservationist and have recently been travelling from India to New Zealand volunteering, birdwatching and enjoying some of nature’s most incredible spectacles. I’m hoping to meet local people, visitors and make new connections in such a beautiful landscape and can’t wait to enhance my learning and share the pioneering story of Loch Garten.
Hoping to see you all soon,
Hello there, my name is Lucy.
I’m new to Abernethy this year and will be one of the Visitor Experience Officers at Loch Garten.
I grew up on the beach, in a small East Yorkshire seaside town called Bridlington. This is where my fascination with nature started, looking in the rockpools for the weird and wonderful creatures that lived in a completely different world to my own. I wanted to understand more about this underwater world and this fascination with marine habitats and wildlife led me to study Marine Biology at Bangor University. I later worked for The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in their Marine department; getting paid to rockpool, the dream!
Although I love Yorkshire, I have always felt a calling to go further North to Scotland. Luckily, I now find myself here in Abernethy, in quite honestly one of the most stunningly beautiful places I’ve been. I’m sure that at the start of the season I’ll feel like a fish out of water, being in a forest and not in a rockpool; but I’m excited to learn more about this place and trade in the Seaweeds and nudibranchs for the trees and the birds.
If you have a favourite terrestrial animal you think I should know about, feel free let me know and of course your favourite marine animals too, so I don’t stray too far from my roots! I look forward to meeting you and for a great season at Loch Garten.
Hello bloggers, it’s me again (Blair, the handsome VEO for those who don’t know me)
My name is Blair and I’m 23 years old. I’m from the very unsunny west coast of Argyll and Bute but luckily I’ve been allowed to escape to the slightly sunnier highlands. This will be my third season working at the Osprey Centre, and I’ve yet to see a successful season. But 3 is the magic number, so I’m more than optimistic about the season we have ahead.
Like EJ, I spread my wings late last year and headed off south towards Spain, Valencia to be exact. I have always been fascinated by the Spanish culture and language so I decided enough was enough was jetted off to the Mediterranean for 3 months where I studied Spanish in a language school. It safe to say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. The Spanish culture is incredibly diverse, the people are so friendly, I finally got around to learning how to siesta (Me gusta mucho ehe), and I seen 3 ospreys at my nearest Nature Reserve… You just can’t bloody escape them!
But now winter is coming to an end and spring is just around the corner, which means it’s time for both EJ and I to look north and head towards Loch Garten where hopefully both of our mating seasons will be more successful than the previous 2!
Hello! My name is Laura and I am new to Abernethy and yet to meet EJ, fingers crossed she arrives soon to her adoring fans!
I can’t wait to see how the next six months will unfold in this beautiful part of the world. I am here as a proud volunteer having heard about the project through my previous job on BBC Springwatch. Having seen the Abernethy forest through the lens, it’s already proving to be much better in the flesh and I’ve only been here for 24 hours! I love the being in the forest and feel privileged to be able to call this ancient one home for the summer, I’m intending the make the most of it and learn as much as I can. There are so many creatures hiding away here that I’ve never seen, I’m sure the rest of the team will be pointing out Cairngorm specialists like the capercaillie, crossbill, crested tit, pine hoverfly and twin flower. I’ll be getting out and about as much as I can, so if you know of a hidden spot, a great hike or a cracking view, come let me know!
My name is Steven and I'm excited to be back for another season surrounded by the awe-inspiring Caledonian forests of the Cairngorms. It should be an incredible year with a big anniversary event marking 60th year since that year when Scotland's very first osprey was recorded taking flight from the erie at Loch Garten for over 40 years. This coupled with Springwatch, a new guided forest introductory walk for visitors at the centre, a new osprey season with a new pair of ospreys in one form or another and the chance to learn more about the forest's wildlife with a fantastic team in a fantastic place all make the season, particularly this year, at Abernethy.
In just over a week since the team started we have already found ourselves immersed in the landscape. The changeable weather by the day has brought snow that soon thawed, with the pines shedding it from their branches on a walk around the two lochs trail. We encountered moments of silence in the forest and at other times mixed flocks of tits and other woodland birds moved together through the tree tops pressing onwards in search of insects. The high pitched calls of goldcrest and treecreeper joined the party and we glimpsed a crested tit briefly amongst them. The pines change their mood constantly with the weather, looking dark and moody when drenched by the rain or bright and orange when spun dry and lit in the sunlight. Out on the loch itself the smoothness of the water gave way, only broken on its smoothness by the mallards and a few goldeneye that drifted towards the edges of the loch itself some distance off.
We have had several days of winds buffeting the trees and sending their branches into a rage. In the time we have been around the visitor centre or walking the forest over the last week I have to say, crossbill sightings have been fantastic and fairly regular. This has certainly been one of the highlights of my time here so far. As have the badgers visiting our volunteer chalet and visiting the Grant Arms for an evening talk on 'Life before the Lens' with Iolo williams.
I look forward to keeping you updated as the season progresses and I have brought my camera too this time so you may see some photos appearing in the near future. Perhaps I will see you at the centre. I look forward to meeting all the many volunteers once again old and new who will be with us for the season.
And we still have one more member to introduce, but I think we will give you guys a break for now!