courtesy of the Courier
You didn't have to be a bird watcher or even a nature lover to be caught up in the excitement in this part of Scotland on Monday. At the Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve, run by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the main attraction is a pair of breeding ospreys; not just any old ospreys but one very special female specimen.
On Monday, because of webcam problems and the fact the 'resident' female osprey is not ringed, the identity of a newly arrived osprey couldn't be made until the bird's identity was studied by a close-up image of its iris.
Amazingly it was the return of Lady, thought to be the oldest breeding female of its kind every recorded in the UK. This is the 21st consecutive year the bird has returned to the nest in Perthshire after a 3000-mile migration from West Africa.
According to the SWT the average osprey lifespan is eight years and this bird is now around 26. She has laid 58 eggs in her lifetime with 48 chicks going on to hatch and successfully fledge the nest and she has made a significant contribution to boosting osprey numbers in Scotland.
Many local people voluntarily contribute to caring for this special reserve which is a few miles east of Dunkeld. People come from all over the world to watch these fascinating birds and in recent years the presence of Lady has brought a surplus of visitor numbers; so much so that there is talk about rationing the time people spend in the hides.
The next exciting event will be the return of a male which is expected to happen within the next week. According to one of the rangers: "The big question on everyone's lips is whether our old osprey will be fertile enough to breed again this year".
Whether she does breed or not is immaterial to some avid osprey watchers who would be quite happy to see Lady spend her well-earned retirement in the peaceful surroundings of the loch. Last year Lady was ill for several days and there was great anxiety in the bird world that she wouldn't survive. However, without any human assistance, she recovered much to the joy of her fans throughout the world.
The webcam can be viewed here.