A YOUNG osprey that has taken over the nest left by Lady – possibly Scotland’s most famous bird of prey – has laid her first egg, it was revealed yesterday.
The fish eagle, dubbed Lassie, produced her first egg of the season on Tuesday night, on the nest at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes reserve, near Dunkeld, Perthshire.
The egg was produced 14 days after Lassie arrived on the nest and began mating with the resident male, known as Laddie.
Her predecessor, Lady, aged 29, was the oldest breeding osprey ever recorded in the UK. She produced 71 eggs and fledged 50 chicks over 24 summers on the nest, but failed to return from her annual migration this year and is presumed dead. The new egg is the first on the nest by any other bird, and staff at the centre are hoping Lassie will go on to establish her own dynasty.
Charlotte Fleming, SWT’s Perthshire ranger, said: “We are delighted to announce that our first osprey egg of 2015 was laid at 8:50pm on Tuesday.
“We were surprised how quickly it happened. Our night watch staff began to notice classic signs of egg laying behaviour, including the female tail lifting and panting. Just ten minutes later she stood up to reveal her beautiful new egg.
“It was a lovely moment. All the team were gathered around the monitor. Despite a little hesitation at the beginning, there have been no problems and she seems to have taken to it perfectly.
“She settled down to incubate happily at 9:10pm and took a well-deserved nap whilst sitting on her first egg of the season.”
Ms Fleming said that the male osprey delivered his first fish to the nest yesterday morning. “He seems more than happy to take on his share of incubation duties.” she said.
She added that the new bird would have its work cut out to match its illustrious predecessor.
“This is a new era for the nest. It’s an important time for osprey conservation so this is a really welcome arrival, and now we are waiting to see if and when the next egg will be.
“Usually they are two days apart, and we are hoping eventually to see a clutch of around three eggs. The average incubation time is 35 days so the first chick could hatch in mid May,” she said.
“Lady had a massive following around the world and those followers have taken this new female to their hearts and adopted her as Lassie.
“She certainly has some big footsteps to follow, but who knows, this could be the next Lady who could be with us for another 24 years.”
The eyrie has been home for the past 24 years to Lady. The new bird has been mating with resident male Laddie since she arrived on 31 March.
If successful, Lassie will become only the second osprey to fledge chicks at the nest since Lady arrived in 1991.
The last chick to fledge from the nest was a female named Blue YZ that hatched in 2013, but failed to survive its first year and its remains were tracked, using its satellite tag, in the Guinea Bissau area of West Africa, from where the birds migrate.
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