Female osprey LF15 has flown the nest at Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre and Wildlife Reserve after another successful breeding season.
She was last spotted at the Perthshire reserve on Saturday 5 August, a week earlier than in 2016.
This is the third year that the pair have bred together at Loch of the Lowes. In both 2015 and 2016 they successfully fledged three chicks. The two fledglings PH1 and PH2 are expected to depart by the end of August and will be followed closely by male LM12.
“Breeding pairs form a bond and LM12 and LF15 are still reasonably young, all being well we fully expect them to reunite at Loch of the Lowes next spring.”
Rachael Hunter, Perthshire Ranger, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “This season has flown by. Both fledglings are spending a lot of time chasing each other around the loch and have been seen practicing fishing, so they seem to be well prepared for their maiden migrations.
“LF15 has left eight days earlier than 2016 but this isn’t unexpected because she laid her eggs relatively early. LM12 should stay around for a few more weeks to feed the youngsters but it’s more than likely that we’ll have an empty nest by the end of August.
“After ospreys leave their nest they lead fairly solitary lives. However, breeding pairs form a bond and LM12 and LF15 are still reasonably young, all being well we fully expect them to reunite at Loch of the Lowes next spring.”
Since the return of the male osprey in March the Trust’s osprey webcam at Loch of the Lowes has been viewed more than 500,000 times by people from all over the world. The Trust’s Osprey Protection Programme is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Clara Govier, Head of Charities, People’s Postcode Lottery said: “It’s incredible to think that ospreys can make such a long journey just a few weeks after emerging as tiny chicks.
“Our players will be proud that their support has helped to ensure another successful season at Loch of the Lowes, and we’re already looking forward to the return of the ospreys in 2018.”
While ospreys usually migrate around 5,000 miles to West Africa for winter, increasing numbers are ‘short-stopping’ – wintering in southern European countries such as Spain. The cause of this behaviour is unknown, however it may relate to climate change or be an old tradition that was disrupted by the osprey’s extinction in these countries.