Bird watchers at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes reserve were out in force hoping for a glimpse of the first osprey egg of the season.
Lassie, which is officially known as LF15, stood up at 7.10pm on Tuesday to reveal a mottled brown egg on the nest at the reserve.
Charlotte Fleming, Perthshire ranger at the Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “LF15 has settled down to begin incubating, and we would expect the egg to hatch in about six weeks’ time.
“It’s now clear that the pair’s attempts at breeding have been a success and they are on track to repeat the hat-trick of chicks that were hatched in both 2015 and 2016.”
The osprey protection team are watching the nest 24 hours a day to monitor their progress and also prevent human disturbance.
Osprey eggs are around the size of a duck egg and are laid just one or two days apart. This means a full clutch of three eggs could be laid by the start of next week.
Since reuniting on March 23 the birds – known as Lassie and Laddie to bird watchers – have been defending their nest from intruding male ospreys and bringing in fish from the nearby lochs. The date of the egg this season equals the earliest recorded first laying at Loch of the Lowes on April 4 2005.
Ospreys were extinct in the UK in the early 20th Century but there are now around 240 breeding pairs thanks to the efforts of conservation charities including the Scottish Wildlife Trust, whose osprey protection programme is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The Loch of the Lowes visitor centre is open daily from 10am to 5pm.