Loch of the Lowes osprey nest update

UPDATE Saturday 4 May, 9pm:

It is with a very heavy heart that we announce that a dead osprey was found near Dunkeld yesterday (Friday 3 May), believed to be male Osprey LM12. This evening (Saturday 4 May), Police Scotland issued a statement appealing for any information that the local community might have that could help establish the circumstances of death.
Given the ongoing police investigation, we are not able to provide any further information at this time but will share any updates as they become available.


Original blog published Friday 3 May follows:

We have a rapidly developing situation with our osprey nest at our Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve.

The last sighting of breeding male LM12 was on Sunday 28 April when he took off after a period of incubation, on what looked to be a fishing trip. Sadly, there have been no sightings of him since.

For a breeding osprey to have been absent from the nest for this long is highly unusual, so it is likely that something has happened to LM12 preventing him from returning. Whether it is injury, illness, or something else such as entanglement we don’t know.

NC0 on her nest in moonlight © Scottish Wildlife Trust
NC0 on her nest in moonlight © Scottish Wildlife Trust

Staff, neighbours and volunteers have been out checking all the known fishing spots and lochans for a sighting, but to no avail. We are very grateful for their effort and time.

At this stage we must assume LM12 is unlikely to return, and the priority is that NC0 feeds herself, though no doubt intruding osprey vying for her territory will be making her even more reluctant to leave.

It has been humbling to watch the determination, commitment and care NC0 has given to incubating her eggs for such a long period without a proper break. Yesterday, [Thursday 02 May] without a delivery of fish for over five days, self-preservation and hunger finally took over and after many shorter flights, NC0 finally left the nest to go and hunt for herself, leaving for an hour each time at 12:41 and 15:49.

It’s likely that had she caught a fish, NC0 would have come straight back to the nest to eat it in situ and keep the eggs safe. Although the eggs were uncovered for an hour on each occasion, the warm weather could mean that they are still viable.

Today, [Friday 03 May] after nearly six days without eating she has returned, after a short 30-minute fishing trip, with what appears to be a huge rainbow trout!

NC0 with a rainbow trout
NC0 with a rainbow trout © Scottish Wildlife Trust

Three osprey intruders have also been in the area prospecting the territory with attempts to land on the nest.

Assuming LM12 doesn’t return, we can only hope NC0 will accept and pair with a strong, dominant male showing interest in the territory and begin to create a bond for next season. Unfortunately, any new male will not accept her eggs. Of course, it could be that she is ousted completely, and a new pair take over the site, but for now she is standing firm.

We can only sit and wait to see what unfolds next.

The Species Protection Team at Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, with funds awarded by Postcode Planet Trust.

Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre is currently open seven days a week from 10:30am to 5pm. The Trust’s live osprey webcam ensures people from around the world can follow events as they happen.

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UPDATE Saturday 4 May, 9pm: It is with a very heavy heart that we announce that a dead osprey was found near Dunkeld yesterday (Friday 3 May), believed to be …

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