A pair of ospreys have finally confirmed their nest for the season in Lochaber – after swithering between two sites for the past three weeks – and an egg has been laid.
The good news for the pair’s legion of internet fans is that the nest they’ve chosen is the one with the live stream camera.
Louis and Aila returned to Loch Arkaig pine forest on April 4, and went on to behave erratically, dividing their time between the nest with the camera, and another platform a mile away without one.
Aila crowned their choice by laying her first egg on Tuesday evening at 6.25pm.
George Anderson of Woodland Trust Scotland described the birds’ antics as “like osprey egg roulette crossed with the hokey-cokey.”
He said: “First Aila disappeared for a few days. After she came back they both went off and were seen primping up the nest a mile away.
“Ironically this was on a platform we built ourselves hoping to attract other birds to nest in the area.
“Obviously we are happy for the pair to nest anywhere so long as they are successful – but people around the world enjoy tuning in to their antics online so we would have been gutted if they had done a flit on us.
“They are such an eccentric pair, so we never know what they are going to do. As they continued to nip back and forwards between the two nests, and egg time got closer, we knew the question was about to be settled once and for all.
“It’s a huge relief we seem to have won egg roulette. We kept our nest-cam Kardashians on screen.”
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Mr Anderson speculated that the birds may have been thinking of a move because their normally sheltered nest took a battering from high winds from an unusual direction.
He said: “Viewers have also speculated that they were being spooked by other birds of prey in the area – where there are golden eagles and sea eagles in residence.”
Woodland Trust Scotland bought Loch Arkaig pine forest with local group Arkaig Community Forest in 2016.
The live camera stream, supported by the Postcode Lottery, began the following season.
Loch Arkaig is the most challenging nest camera site in the UK, as there is no visitor centre, electricity supply or internet connection on site.
The equipment is solar-powered and the signal is beamed across the loch before entering the Lochielnet system to go out to the world.
Ospreys usually produce clutches of three eggs with a day or two interval between each.
The live stream will run until autumn.