Ospreys are flour­ish­ing across Lochaber

The Oban Times - - NEWS - Glen­loy Wildlife www.glen­loy­wildlife.co.uk.

OSPREYS are a ma­jor tourist draw and many peo­ple make spe­cial trips to see and pho­to­graph these mag­nif­i­cent fish- eat­ing rap­tors.

Osprey mi­gra­tions to and from West Africa are fol­lowed on­line us­ing data cap­tured from satel­lite-tagged in­di­vid­u­als and the breed­ing progress of star pairs is fol­lowed via nest cam­eras.

This year a we­b­cam has been placed on the nest of one of our lo­cal pairs lo­cated in a re­mote lo­ca­tion on the banks of Loch Arkaig, by the Wood­land Trust Scot­land (WTS), with sup­port from play­ers of Peo­ple’s Post­code Lot­tery, and it is hoped that they will also soon achieve in­ter­net star­dom.

To date the male has been busy spruc­ing up his long- es­tab­lished nest, but is still await­ing the re­turn of his mate.

Won­der­ful im­ages of the osprey nest can be seen on the WTS website http:// www.wood­landtrust.org.uk/ sup­port- us/ sup­port-an-ap­peal/arkaig-pinewoods/ wildlife/osprey- cam.

The po­si­tion­ing of the cam­era on Loch Arkaig is highly ap­pro­pri­ate, as it is thought that this was the last site for breed­ing ospreys be­fore they were fi­nally driven to tem­po­rary ex­tinc­tion in Bri­tain in 1916.

Birds nat­u­rally started to re- colonise Scot­land in the 1950s and, pro­tected by the RSPB, made a ma­jor come­back, to the ex­tent that there could well be more than 200 pairs nest­ing in Scot­land now.

To­day there are prob­a­bly three pairs of osprey nest­ing on Loch Arkaig, with oth­ers nearby on Loch Lochy and Loch Garry. They are spread­ing in the area, and may be seen fish­ing on al­most any wa­ter.

Lucky visi­tors some­times see them from the heart of Fort Wil­liam hov­er­ing above the Lochy es­tu­ary.

Of­ten choos­ing an old pine tree in which to nest, with a good van­tage over the sur­round­ing coun­try­side, ospreys use a sim­ple plat­form of sticks, lined with mosses.

Man-made plat­forms may be used.

The lo­cal ospreys seem to be rel­a­tively late to ar­rive, at around the be­gin­ning of April.

Males ap­pear first, but once the fe­males re­turn they are quick to breed and lay eggs.

If the fish­ing is good, ospreys are quite ca­pa­ble of rear­ing two young.

These hatch in early June and fledge in early Au­gust, but can be seen around the nest area un­til they de­part again at the be­gin­ning of Septem­ber.

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