The first osprey chick of the season has hatched in arguably Scotland’s most famous nest at the Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve near Dunkeld.
Cracks appeared in an egg on the nest on Saturday afternoon and after a couple of hours female osprey LF15 – better known as Lassie – stood up to reveal a tiny chick. It is the earliest recorded hatching at the reserve since 2005, when the first chick emerged on May 12.
Rab Potter, reserves manager for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, said: “Our team of staff and volunteers has been watching the nest around the clock since the first egg was laid and we’re delighted that the first chick has now made an appearance.
“All being well, the next two eggs will hatch over the next few days and we’d encourage people to keep an eye on our live osprey webcam for a chance to see the chicks emerge.”
Osprey chicks grow incredibly quickly, fuelled by a high protein diet of pike, trout and other fish brought to the nest by their parents. They are initially covered in down, but start to grow new feathers within days, and are ready to fly after seven to eight weeks.
Once extinct in the UK, there are now around 240 breeding pairs of ospreys thanks to the efforts of nature conservation charities including the Scottish Wildlife Trust, whose Osprey Protection Programme is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Clara Govier, head of charities at the People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Our players will be delighted that the ospreys at Loch of the Lowes are having another successful season. It’s amazing to think that this tiny chick will be ready for a long migration south in just a few months.”