Angus osprey fans are preparing to bid a fond farewell to the latest additions to a growing family at a local reserve.
After two fallow years in the Balgavies Loch island eyrie near Forfar, three chicks have been successfully reared there this summer.
And the new arrivals about to set off on a migration thousands of miles to winter sun have been described as the finest youngsters yet at the Scottish Wildlife Trust attraction.
The bumper breeding season has brought visitors flocking to the loch.
In 2012, the first recorded Angus osprey chick hatched at Balgavies.
It was ringed in a tricky operation to scale the island nest and Blue YD remains the only Balgavies osprey to carry an ID tag.
His re-appearance there in April raised hopes the bird might set up home at the loch, but returning male KR3 quickly claimed residency to resume the partnership with a female Balgavies regulars know well as Mrs Green BF.
After the false starts of the past two years, they have proved to be perfect parents in the summer of 2021.
Photographer Darren Dawson, one of a group of enthusiasts whose spectacular shots have drawn huge numbers to the Balgavies Loch Ospreys Facebook page, has enjoyed a thrilling season.
He said: “After the past two years when there were no chicks, this has been a fantastic year.
“Watching the young birds grow up right in front of you is amazing.”
He has captured stunning shots of the father bird carrying super-sized trout to feed his brood and video footage of the youngsters finding their wings.
Darren, 49, from Kellas: “I try to get to Balgavies as much as I can – I probably spend too much time there when I should be at home but I just love it.
The female osprey and at least one of the juveniles has already left Angus on the long journey to West Africa where they usually over-winter. The rest of the family is expected to follow within days.
Darren added: “They hatched later this year so they are here longer than they would usually be, but it has been a fantastic summer.”
SWT Reserve warden Jim Hughes said: “It’s been an exceptional season – more so because of the two fallow years.
“And, in my opinion, these chicks were the three finest specimens we’ve ever seen here at Balgavies.
“In the early days one was a little behind and I expected it to be the runt.
“But it soon caught up and they have turned into three absolutely beautiful birds.
“They are fine, strong young ospreys and I hope they do well in the future.
“It’s been a great thing for the reserve and we’ve noticed that with the higher number of visitors.
“The male bird KR3 has proved himself to be some fisherman.
“He’s brought in some big trout and flat fish and has been spotted all over – Kinnordy Loch, Forfar Loch, Montrose Basin and Guardbridge in Fife.
“People love these birds and this has been a magnificent season.”
Balgavies’ popularity is also set to increase with small screen exposure later this year.
Acclaimed wildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin and Death in Paradise actor Ben Miller recently visited the reserve to record footage for a new nature series due to be shown on More 4 later this year.
From just two pairs in the late 1960s, the raptor is now a regular sight in summer skies in many areas.
However, total numbers are still thought to be only around 1,500.
Some birds have been known to complete the 3,000-mile West African migration in under a fortnight.
Angus chick Blue YD was tagged as well as being ringed in 2012 and was tracked for more than 20,000 miles before dropping off the radar.
It led to fears the bird had perished, before he was spotted by an enthusiast from an English wildlife trust during a trip to Senegal.
He has since become an annual returnee to his home county.