As I’m sure you’ll all remember, one year ago today we were delighted to confirm that our resident female osprey had returned for the 20th year! Needless to say, we were gobsmacked. Most readers of this blog are, of course, very familiar with the bird now commonly known as ‘Lady’, however a quick recap of this individual osprey’s ‘lifetime of achievements’ never fails to impress us.
So, exactly how impressive can one old bird be? We say – let the statistics speak for themselves:
Species: Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Estimated age: 25 years (the average lifespan of an osprey is 8 years)
Number of eggs lain in her lifetime: 58
Number of chicks fledged from her nest: 46
Estimated number of miles travelled in her lifetime: 120,000 miles (3000 miles x 2 (from West Africa to Perthshire and back again) every year for approximately the last 20 years)
It might be interesting to note that, despite being thought to be 25 years old, ‘Lady’ has migrated back to the UK (or at least certainly back to Loch of the Lowes) only 20 times. This is because young ospreys make their first migration to West Africa when they fledge from their mother’s nest, and they don’t return until they are sexually matured between three and five years later.
Last year, our osprey was seen landing on the nest at 2 pm so the eyes of our staff and volunteers are turned to the skies at Lowes for any sign of a magnificent bird in flight. Our HD nest camera is currently under repair, but please rest assured we are doing all we can to fix this problem and identify any other alternatives so that people can view the nest as soon as possible. Although we can’t be sure, we expect an osprey might return in another few days. In 2009, she returned on 20th March. In 2008, she was back on 30th March. And while we remain hopeful of her return, we must of course prepare ourselves for the fact that she might not be back. She is an incredibly old bird after all. Last year, she suffered from an illness on the nest and experts thought she was unlikely to recover. Although she did rally her spirits and go on to complete the breeding season, leaving for Africa on 4th August, her fate remains unknown since then.
At Loch of the Lowes, we remain hopeful, but it could be that we welcome a new bird to the nest this year – to begin a new era of osprey breeding here. As always, we will keep you up-to-date as events unfold.
Briefly on another note, we are experiencing a high volume of email enquiries at the Scottish Wildlife Trust. As a result, we would like to make you aware that we are now unable to respond personally to every email we receive. We appreciate that many people, including many bloggers, have questions and views which they would like to share with us, and any email we receive will be gratefully received and taken onboard. However, as you might also know, this blog has recently taken the decision to remove the commenting facility for time management-related issues. The same reasoning applies to the receipt of emails. As such, we hope you understand that the receipt of your emails will now be acknowledged with a standard response. We hope that any questions about ospreys or anything seen on the web cameras will be addressed in due course via our blog posts. Specifically to facilitate the management of enquiries from readers of this blog, we have set up a dedicated email account (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we request that any direct messages you’d like to send us are sent to us there. Similarly, we’d like to request that you use this email address to communicate with us, rather than calling Loch of the Lowes by telephone. Once again, we’d like to reassure you that all emails will be read and gratefully received.
While we anxiously wait for the return of ospreys to Loch of the Lowes, we will be talking to other Wildlife Trust’s across the UK. In our next blog post, we hope to tell you more about some other Wildlife Trust osprey watching locations and find out whether their ospreys have returned this year yet!