Here are the pictures which prove that a female osprey has returned to Scotland earlier than expected.
Staff and volunteers at the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scotland’s leading nature conservation charity, were delighted about the rare bird’s return to Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve, near Dunkeld, almost two weeks earlier than anticipated.
Wildlife enthusiasts from around the world had been waiting to see if the female osprey, known at the Trust as LF15, would come back to the reserve for a second year running.
The osprey successfully fledged three chicks at the reserve last summer and was last seen at the site on August 7.
But now, after spending the winter in a warmer climate, she is settled again at Scotland’s most famous osprey nest, where it is hoped that she will breed once more in the future.
Perthshire Ranger for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Charlotte Fleming, said: “It’s great to see the osprey back here again.
“Her behaviour is very relaxed and she seems very at ease in the middle of the nest. From initial observations, she looks to be in great condition for breeding.
“We are hoping that she will not be on her own for long and we are keeping our eyes glued to the webcam to see when the male will arrive.
“I am delighted that our osprey season has started so well already, and have everything crossed for another successful breeding season.”
Once extinct in the UK, there are now around 240 breeding pairs of ospreys thanks to the efforts of nature conservation charities such as the Scottish Wildlife Trust, whose Osprey Protection Programme is supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery.