Having reared a record 50 chicks over more than two decades, the UK’s oldest breeding osprey has returned to her nest for another year.
Known affectionately as Lady, the female raptor is estimated to be in her late 20s and has been returning to Loch of the Lowes reserve near Dunkeld in Perthshire for 24 years.
Last year, she broke records by laying four eggs, one of which hatched as audiences watched on the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s webcam.
Sadly the female chick – her 50th – died of starvation in Africa last year.
But the SWT hopes Lady may breed once again after she returned to the loch yesterday, with close-up images of her plumage and eye markings confirming her identity.
The male breeding osprey returned on March 21 and the pair have begun their courtship, leading to speculation on whether they will produce any chicks this season.
SWT’s Perthshire ranger Emma Rawling said: “She is a very old bird and for her to undertake another successful migration is testament to just how special she is. However, it does demonstrate the conservation success story of the species as a whole.
“To think that ospreys were extinct here just over a century ago really brings home how accomplished the concerted effort of conservation has been in that time. The questions now are whether she will breed, if any eggs will hatch and whether any chicks fledge.”
Lady’s mate, known as Laddie, is much younger and is her fourth breeding partner in 22 years.
Ospreys live on average for 10-15 years in the wild.
The raptors became extinct in England in 1847 following widespread persecution and were wiped out in Scotland by 1916.
However, the species has gradually returned thanks to a reintroduction scheme south of the border in the late 1990s and natural re-colonisation of Scotland from 1954.
Anyone wishing to follow Lady’s progress can watch the Loch of Lowes webcam at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s website.