The first osprey chick of the year has hatched at the Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve in Perthshire.
Volunteers spotted a crack in one of the eggs at around 7.30am on Tuesday. About half an hour later the female osprey – known as LF15 – stood up to reveal a tiny chick.
Rachael Hunter, Perthshire ranger with the Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “It’s exciting to have our first chick of the season.
“All being well the eggs will hatch in the same order as they were laid, and roughly the same amount of time apart. We could have three chicks in our nest by the end of the week, so I’d encourage people to keep their eye on our live osprey webcam to avoid missing out.”
“Spring has had a relatively slow start this year and the ospreys are no exception. They are about a week behind where they were in 2017 but and we could have a full clutch of three eggs by the weekend, and if LM12 can keep up with the large numbers of fish he will have to bring to the nest we’re fairly certain that we’ll have another successful season.”
This is the ninth chick that has been born to the resident pair LM12 and LF15 – also known as Lassie and Laddie – since 2015.
Osprey chicks are initially covered in down, but start to grow new feathers within days, and will begin to stretch their wings in preparation for migration after just a few weeks. They grow very quickly thanks to a high protein diet of pike, trout and other fish brought to the nest by their parents.
Ospreys were extinct in Britain for much of the 20th century. They began to recover in the 1960s and around 260 pairs of ospreys now breed in the UK each summer.
This recovery is 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 Scottish Wildlife Trust has set up a live webcam at the site.