At a talk tonight in the local village hall being given by Peter, one of the wardens up at Loch of the Lowes, Dunkeld, where they have a notable osprey nest, or eyrie (one of several throughout Perthshire).
Ospreys are fish eagles and there are around 220 breeding pairs in Scotland – thus they are much rarer than golden eagles, where the breeding population is thought to be around 600 pairs. The good news is that the first chick had hatched that day [Edit 21 May: closely followed by a second] – remarkably, this is the 47th [and now 48th] chick to hatch from the same female, which has now returned to the site at the Loch for 20 years in a row. The female is thought to be 25, when the average osprey life is just 8 years, and this year has a new male partner.
Osprey chicks spend about three months on the nest before fledging, when they then almost immediately undertake a hazardous 3,000 mile migration to the coast of western Africa. Here they spend their juvenile years – the fishing is better than in northern Europe, not least in the winter – before commencing annual summer migrations back to the lands of their birth as adult birds specifically for breeding.
The Loch of the Lowes female has an astonishing history and the news of the hatching of (yet) another chick is fantastic news for the population of these quite amazing birds.