The first of two young osprey chicks at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve in Perthshire has fledged from the nest.
The eldest chick, ringed LR1, completed a brief first flight around the reserve on Friday 9 July, returning to the nest after around a minute.
Sara Rasmussen, Perthshire Ranger, Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “It’s incredible to think that just a few weeks ago these young ospreys were tiny, helpless chicks. In about a month they will be capable of flying south by themselves all the way to West Africa.
“Seeing the young ospreys take flight is a huge moment and demonstrates the importance of our long-running Osprey Protection Programme, which ensures the birds are kept safe from human disturbance. This work is made possible thanks to more than 50 local volunteers and support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
“The next few weeks are a fantastic time to visit Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre to see displays of flying ospreys from our wildlife hide, as well as a huge range of other birdlife. It’s a very busy time so we’d recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.”
Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Watching osprey chicks develop into young birds that can fly thousands of miles is an amazing experience, and we’re pleased that our players have been able to support another successful season at Loch of the Lowes.”
LM12 and NC0’s two chicks were ringed by a trained and licensed ringer on Tuesday 22 June – the oldest was sexed as female and ringed Blue LR1. Its younger sibling is believed to be male and was ringed LR2.
The current breeding pair at Loch of the Lowes are male LM12 and female NC0, who first bred in 2020. If the two chicks fledge as expected the pair will have fledged three chicks together, and a total of 85 ospreys will have fledged from the reserve since ospreys returned to Loch of the Lowes in 1969.
Ospreys were extinct in Britain for much of the 20th century. They began to recover in the 1960s and today an estimated 300 pairs breed in the UK each summer.
This recovery is thanks to the efforts of conservation charities including the Scottish Wildlife Trust, whose Osprey Protection Programme is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s live osprey webcam ensures people from around the world can follow events as they happen.
Loch of the Lowes Visitor Centre & Wildlife Reserve is open to the public from 10:30am – 5pm, Thursday to Monday. Advance booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.