Female osprey NC0 laid her first egg of the season at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve in Perthshire yesterday evening.
Staff and volunteers at the reserve, as well as webcam viewers from around the world, watched the osprey reveal her mottled egg at 18:34 on Tuesday 12 April. NC0 is expected to lay more eggs in the coming day and she could be sitting on a full clutch of three eggs by Easter Monday.
“This is a critical point in the season when an osprey pair’s teamwork becomes really important.
Sara Rasmussen, Perthshire Ranger
The Trust’s Perthshire Ranger Sara Rasmussen said: “We are thrilled to see NC0 lay her first egg of the season and we’re hoping to see her lay again in the next few days.
“This is a critical point in the season when an osprey pair’s teamwork becomes really important. If the eggs are left uncovered they can cool quickly, reducing the chances of successful hatching. NC0 incubates the eggs for around 80% of the time but her mate LM12 will take over for brief periods to give her a chance to feed on the fish that he brings to the nest.”
Laura Chow, Head of Charities, People’s Postcode Lottery said: “The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Osprey Protection Programme safeguards amazing birds of prey and gathers valuable information about their lives on the nest. We’ll be glued to the reserve’s live webcam and we’re hoping to see tiny osprey chicks hatch out in a few weeks’ time.”
Osprey lay their eggs around 1-3 days apart. To successfully hatch these eggs need to be incubated around the clock for 5-6 weeks.
Ospreys were extinct in Britain for much of the 20th Century. They began to recover in the 1960s and an estimated 300 pairs of ospreys now breed in the UK each summer. Most of these birds migrate to West Africa but some winter in Spain and Portugal.
The recovery of ospreys is thanks to the efforts of conservation charities including the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The Osprey Protection Programme at Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre & Wildlife Reserve is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.