The excitement of the first egg being laid on Tuesday evening was palpable as Loch of the Lowes staff and volunteers rushed to watch the live video feed to witness the first minutes of parenthood for our new pairing of ospreys. Anxious moments followed as we, and thousands of webcam viewers waited for the female to incubate. These emotions must be akin to those experienced by the pioneers of osprey reintroduction in Scotland nearly 60 years ago. The challenges they faced are not so different now, but thanks to their tireless efforts the odds are now swinging in the ospreys’ favour.
Our male has continued to demonstrate his strengths and weaknesses in equal measure. Three large fish were delivered on Wednesday, and a handsome perch arrived in time for breakfast on Thursday morning. The female seems to have regained her appetite after laying, and didn’t hesitate to make off with the catch. However the male is not so proficient at incubation. He spends many minutes fidgeting and rearranging nest material leaving the egg exposed. These moments can be painful to watch, but so far the egg has not been left unattended and only exposed for short spells. Crows are never far away and the birds must be vigilant to protect their charge.
If you spend any time watching the ospreys at Loch of the Lowes, you quickly appreciate how fragile the success of one pair and the Scottish osprey population, still is. The dedication of the devoted osprey parents, the Scottish Wildlife Trust staff, the volunteers and the paying public is truly a labour of love.
Species Protection Officer.