Webbed feet on web cams

LAST year was the year the Scottish Wildlife Trust went global.

The three wildlife webcams operated by the Trust attracted more than 3,000,000 views over the 12 months.

The webcams are at the Trust’s Visitor Centres at Montrose Basin, Loch of the Lowes in Perthshire, and the Falls of Clyde in North Lanarkshire.

The webcams have been streamed live onto the web with generous support from People’s Postcode Lottery.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust is currently seeking a sponsor to help cover the extra costs associated with the huge increase in visitor numbers.

An average of 75,000 people per month watched the webcams this year, and the cameras have faithful fans from around the world including America, Australia and East Asia.

Viewers from 187 countries visited the webcams at www.scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk, including more than 90,000 from Finland.

There were even 641 hits from Iraq!

At Loch of the Lowes, the webcam is perched on a nest, inhabited by a very special bird. The female osprey, known by fans as the Lady of the Loch, returned to Loch of the Lowes for the 21st consecutive year this March.

Thousands of webcam viewers saw her up close as she laid eggs which unfortunately did not hatch.

It is hoped that she and her mate will return next summer.

Thanks to the female osprey, the Trust’s website including the webcam at Loch of the Lowes received a record 61,213 visits on one day in May last year.

At Montrose Basin viewers saw a wide variety of species, such as swans, terns, water rails, snipe, oystercatchers and eider ducks. Grey and common seals were regular visitors; a more unusual guest was the distinctive spoonbill, which delighted viewers in July.