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First osprey returns to the Lowes

Wild Scotland member, the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) is delighted to announce that today (30 March 2008) the original female osprey has returned to her summer home at Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve near Dunkeld.

Once the first egg is laid, staff and nearly 70 volunteers will take it in turns to man the round-the-clock watch to safeguard these magnificent creatures. 

The female osprey arrived at 2pm this afternoon and has already been joined by, and mated with, a male osprey with a yellow ring. The resident male has not yet been seen but can arrive some time after his partner, when he will attempt to chase any interloper away and take over the breeding process.

Once a common species in Britain by 1916 ospreys were all but extinct. Thanks to tremendous conservation efforts ospreys are once again an established part of Scotland’s rich wildlife. The first pair to return to the Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve was in 1969 when they were only the fifth known pair in Scotland.

As Peter Ferns, Visitor Centre Manager at Loch of the Lowes said, this is an exciting year at the reserve. If the pair do breed successfully again, it will be a major achievement “If the female lays yet another clutch of eggs this year we could be celebrating a 50th egg here at the reserve. Its amazing that just one pair of birds can play such a significant role in the survival of their species. As she is now getting on in years, whether sadly this may be her last contribution to Scotland’s osprey population before a younger female takes her place we will just have to wait and see. Our state of the art, high definition screen in the visitor centre, offers stunning views of the nest and close up pictures of the bird make you feel as though you can just reach out and touch her ”

Ospreys are just one of many wildlife attractions at the reserve. This year for the first time the visitor centre will open all year round giving visitors unrivalled access to the wild action. As Peter continued, “Loch of the Lowes has become famous for its ospreys but there is so much more – it is a real magnet for some of Scotland iconic creatures. Red squirrels and pine martens are regularly seen along with woodland birds of all types and sizes. Thanks to programmes such as Springwatch more and more people are enjoying the diversity of species we have here in the UK. This year we will also be offering visitors the chance to watch pine martens from the comfort of the visitor centre over a number of evenings later in the season.”

Once settled, the female osprey will lay between two and four eggs during the first part of April, six weeks later the chicks will hatch. Thanks to the wonders of technology, those not able to visit the reserve can see the ospreys live through our webcam from our new High Definition camera on SWT’s website at www.swt.org.uk.

Around 30,000 visitors come to the Loch of the Lowes each season to enjoy observing wildlife in its natural setting and most importantly, in a controlled environment offering minimum disturbance.

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