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50th Egg Hatched! Osprey chick arrives at crack of dawn

The Scottish Wildlife Trust is proud to announce the arrival of the first osprey chick of this season at Loch of the Lowes reserve in Dunkeld.  This is the 50th hatching for the resident female.  The chick made its way out of the shell at around 4.15 this morning (Sunday 18th May), having taken a few days to break through.  A crack appeared in the egg on Friday, widening to a small hole on Saturday evening, then “freedom” early on Sunday morning, confirming that the old bird still has it in her.

Graeme Walla, Perthshire Ranger at Loch of the Lowes said, “we have all become egg-stremely egg-cited; egg-static you could even say, for we have been patiently waiting and watching for this moment!.”

“The volunteers working through the night to ensure the protection of the eggs were lucky and delighted to be able to watch the arrival of the chick close up on our high definition screen.  The pictures live from the nest were fantastic to watch and we are absolutely overjoyed that we have yet another osprey chick here at Loch of the Lowes, while waiting expectantly for the other two eggs to hatch, over the next few days .”

This unringed female first arrived at Loch of the Lowes in 1991 and has returned each year since, the male since 1994.  She has now laid 52 eggs, though an amazing 43 chicks have successfully fledged from the nest site at Loch of the Lowes.  This pair have significantly added to the endangered osprey population which is quite an achievement, considering that the female is possibly the oldest breeding female in Scotland, being over 20 years old.  

Peter Ferns, Visitor Centre Manager said, “thanks to around 70 volunteers who take it in turns to man the round-the-clock watch to safeguard these magnificent birds, without whom, the Loch of the Lowes osprey nest would be rich pickings for egg thieves, something we were particularly worried about this year as it was the 50th egg.  We are relieved that the chick has now hatched and look forward to seeing its siblings.”

Once a common species in Britain by 1916 ospreys were all but extinct. 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. This year staff hope to celebrate a major achievement at the reserve with the female laying her 50th egg this season. Thanks to the wonders of technology and to support from Chevron, 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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