It's hard not to be passionate about Highland Perthshire as a place to live in as well as visit. Hopefully these blogs prove the point!
The staff and volunteers at Loch of the Lowes are very proud of our history and association with osprey conservation, having been privileged to have these incredible birds on our reserve since 1969.
In 1991, a new female appeared on the nest, and little did we know then just how important this bird would be. Affectionately known as “Lady”, this osprey is thought to be the oldest known breeding osprey in the UK with an amazing breeding record at Lowes. In her 24 seasons here, with the help of four different males, she has hatched 71 eggs and managed to fledge 50 chicks. There is no doubting this female has been important in terms of breeding success and as an ambassador for osprey conservation in Scotland – she has captured the attention of webcam viewers from 96 countries, with over half a million people tuning in to watch her story unfold.
Whilst it is looking likely that she will not be returning to Lowes this season, it is impossible to know her fate. As Roy Dennis reminded us at his talk here last weekend, there could be many reasons why she has failed to return this year – it is possible that perhaps she is simply sunning herself in Spain! Regardless of the outcome of this season or the next, there is no doubt that this female has firmly cemented herself in Loch of the Lowes history, and the Scottish osprey conservation story.
Now, focussing on the present and the future there is a new chapter to add to these stories. Our current unidentified female who arrived on the 31st March has quickly made herself at home in the nest. The male is still appearing a little reluctant, but he has accepted her. We can see this unfolding as matings and fish deliveries are now regular events. The pair have worked hard and the nest is now looking in great shape, with a perfect cupped centre ready to hold a clutch of eggs.
We are now entering the very exciting egg-laying period. Staff and volunteers are watching around the clock for classic tell-tale behavioural signs from the female, including spending much more time at the nest, lying low in the nest cup and panting.
As ever, I and my team will keep you updated with any major developments as soon as we possibly can. Fingers crossed we don’t have too long to wait.