There are ospreys back in the UK. Even better, one has been seen on camera. This afternoon, an osprey has been seen on the Loch of the Lowes nest, and perching in the trees behind.
Is it LM12, the resident male?
We don't know:
But even if it's not, just a passer-by heading north, we can declare the season officially underway.
Here's the Scottish Wildlife Trust's summary of last year.
Last minute preparations
Meanwhile, the last couple of weeks have seen other nests prepapring for the return of their summer inhabitants.
Let's look at a few of them:
The forest has seen considerable storm damage over the winter — which may take a year to completely clear. That hasn't stopped the team getting the nests ready, though — and even adding some new cameras:
I don't know about you, but I'll be watching Glaslyn with some trepidation this year. Mrs G is one of the oldest known breeding ospreys, and Aran suffered a serious injury last summer, leading to a failed nest.
Change is bound to come to Glaslyn sooner rather than later now — but will it be this year?
Here's Geemeff's speeded up video of the rennovations at the Loch Arkaig nest earlier in the week:
This will be an interesting one to watch. The nest was unused last summer, as resident male Louis decamped to a nearby nest with his new mate, and successfully fledged chicks there. Might he return to his original nest, as LM12 did at Lowes last year?
Or could the young couple seen around the nest last year claim it as their own?
One great piece of news for long-term watchers of this nest: one of the 2019 fledges has been seen wintering in Africa:
The most exciting news…
Big, big, BIG changes at Loch Garten. The most famous nest in the country, the one where ospreys first bred in the UK again after their long absence, is no more:
Hi folks, we've had word today from Wildlife Windows that our new osprey cam at Loch Garten has gone live today. We're letting you know as I know there are many of you chomping at the bit to get a view of the nest - but you'll see it's a different nest this year!
Well, I suppose nests built in trees can't last forever — because trees don't. And after over 60 years of service, maybe the old nest was beyond its sell-by date.
Some more detail from the same Facebook post:
It's close to the old nest and still viewable from the Nature Centre, but is in a completely healthy Scots pine, unlike the old nest, which only had one living limb. We're obviously keen to attract a new breeding pair to this historic site, so have also thinned out the tree canopy surrounding the nest, after taking advice from Roy Dennis.
They're only providing a daytime cam, in case the red light of an infra-red camera would disturb a potential new pair. It's clear that the RSPB are very keen to see a breeding pair there again — even if it's on a new nest.
Here's the livestream:
Let's hope we see a couple adopt, defend and use the nest this year.
World Osprey Week kicks off in a week's time on the 21st March. One wildlife trust will be emailing out activity packs for children. My girls had great fun with these in the past:
On Monday 28th March, the Poole Harbour Osprey Translocation project will be giving an online talk about the plans for the year. This could well be the first year that the project produces chicks, if last year's bonded couple return. I'll be tuning in for this talk.
There are exciting — and nerve-wracking — times ahead in the coming weeks. Reports of ospreys being spotted around the UK have been grwoing steadily over the last few days. How long until we see birds back on streamed nests?
Traditionally, Maya and 33 at Manton Bay are the earliest back. But the camera is not yet on, so who knows what the week to come will bring…