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Osprey captured catching prey at Highland fishery

The Osprey lifts a fish from the water
The Osprey lifts a fish from the water

Dramatic images of an osprey swooping down on a loch to catch a fish have been captured at Aviemore.

The photographs were taken just after dawn at the Ruthiemurcus fishery.

The raptor is seen expertly descending on the water and dragging out its prey with razor sharp talons.

Ospreys, a fish-eating bird of prey, are an RSPB amber list species because of their historical decline due to illegal killing and low breeding numbers.

The wildlife charity’s Osprey Centre at Boat of Garten, near Nethybridge, played host to the first successful breeding in Scotland in 1954.

The birds were persecuted to the point of extinction in the Victorian era and, despite concerted efforts to protect the species, they finally became extinct in Scotland in 1916.

However, their migratory habit brought them back to Scotland in the 1950s.

Ospreys migrate to each spring from Africa and nest in a tall pine tree, and in 2011 the RSPB estimated there were between 250 and 300 nesting pairs in Great Britain.

Among the most famous ospreys to visit Scotland is Lady, who has been returning to the Loch of Lowes, near Dunkeld, for more than 20 years.

The raptor is thought to be about 28 – making her the oldest known breeding osprey in the UK

While nesting at the reserve, Lady has produced a record-breaking 71 eggs, resulting in 50 chicks.

However, this year she did not produce any chicks, and as she set off on her journey back to Africa last week, conservationists admitted they feared they had may have said their final farewell to the bird.

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