Waterside Ecology

Independent Ecological Consultancy

Black-throated diver nesting failure on Loch Maree

Client SNH


Holding the largest breeding population of black-throated divers on a single UK waterbody, Loch Maree was classified as a Special Protection Area for black-throated divers in 1994. In the late nineties concerns were raised when it was observed that diver breeding success was decreasing dramatically. A desk study determined that the population could not be maintained at a stable level unless fledging success increased. Lorna conducted a four-year study, using automatic cameras to determine the causes of nest failure, including predation of eggs or young by birds and mammals. The results of this study were used to provide Scottish Natural Heritage with a long–term management strategy for the diver population on Loch Maree. While working on this project Lorna was contracted as an advisor to the BBC Natural History Unit, providing support in the in the development of a Natural World programme focusing on the black throated divers and white tailed eagles of Loch Maree.