Osprey Diary at Loch of the Lowes- Week 3

A week has passed since the Easter weekend at Loch of the Lowes, when we experienced a mixture of beautiful sunny weather, some heavy showers and plenty of action in and around the nest.

The osprey pair have been adjusting to their incubation duties after the arrival of the first egg on the 4th of April. A rather comical moment was caught on our camera a few days later, when our male osprey (LM12) landed on top of our female osprey (NC0). After a slightly wayward landing, she gladly grabbed the fish and LM12 took over his incubation duties. When male ospreys return to their nest with a headless fish, it is often a signal to the female that it is their turn to incubate. However, most males including LM12, also take turns to incubate on multiple occasions throughout the day, giving the female osprey a chance to stretch her wings, bathe and preen.

As soon as the first egg was laid, NC0 changed her behaviour from roosting nearby, or occasionally roosting on the nest perch, to spending every night on the nest, incubating the eggs come rain or shine. She even stoically sat through some particularly horrendous weather as a spring storm blew across Scotland for a full day and night. LM12 was quick to relieve her at first light with a freshly caught fish and has since continued to bring in fresh, soft nesting material to keep the eggs protected from the elements.

NC0 Incubating on the Nest Overnight © SWT Webcam

On the morning of the 7th of April, the second egg of the season was laid! The next day, our male breeding osprey, LM12, got straight to work, making the nest more hospitable for the two eggs by bringing in lots of moss and other nesting material. NC0 was not impressed as he had not yet delivered a fish to her that day. This resulted in loud screeching from NC0 and despite preferring to continue to incubate, LM12 was soon sent packing with an order for a fish supper ringing in his ears!


On the morning of the 10th of April 2023, the third egg of the season was laid by NC0. Whilst ospreys sometimes lay four eggs, (as we have seen this year with female osprey ‘Maya’ at Manton Bay), three eggs tends to be the average clutch size.

NC0 and LM12 have been taking turns incubating and defending the nest from potential intruders. It is now more important than ever that the eggs remain incubated and protected by NC0 and LM12 to prevent the event of a hungry corvid, buzzard or heron predating the eggs.

There certainly has been a lot of intruding action on the reserve in the last week, with buzzards, Egyptian geese, Canada geese, corvids, and other ospreys all taking an interest in the nest and wider territory. Ospreys are very territorial birds, with a male osprey spending much of his time defending the immediate nesting site and wider breeding territory from intruders. It can be an exhausting time, simultaneously ensuring plenty fish come to the nest, whilst defending the skies and protecting their mate, eggs and ultimately young brood from any unwanted attention.

The Lowes osprey pair have often had to stop incubating and expend a great deal of energy to defend the nest by alarm calling, mantling over the eggs (to make themselves look larger) and chasing off incoming intruders. Surprisingly, there are some intruders that NC0 is not bothered by, in particular the buzzard observed in the video below did not even elicit a high pitched ‘chipping’ guard call!

Intruding ospreys on the other hand seem to provoke a much more dramatic response, with the female defending her nest from any unwanted guests trying to move in on her territory and mate. We saw this on the 11th of April when what appears to be an unringed male osprey tried to land on the nest on three separate occasions. NC0 stood her ground and sent the intruder packing with a firm wing flap and a piercing call! Whilst NC0 is more vulnerable to intrusions when her mate is away fishing, she is more than capable of taking matters into her own hands – or should that be talons?

Stay tuned to the webcam see what drama unfolds in the next week, including whether there will be any ringed osprey intruders on the nest.


Alexandra Jackson

Species Protection Officer

The Trust’s Osprey Protection Programme at Loch of the Lowes is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

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A week has passed since the Easter weekend at Loch of the Lowes, when we experienced a mixture of beautiful sunny weather, some heavy showers and plenty of action in …

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