SCOTLAND’S most famous bird of prey has returned to her nest for a record 23rd year.
Lady, the oldest breeding female osprey recorded in the UK, returned to her summer home at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes reserve, near Dunkeld, Perthshire, at the weekend.
The 27-year-old raptor immediately saw off a young female which had attempted to intrude on her annual nest.
Staff at the centre spent hours studying close-up footage from a nest-cam to confirm it was the “hardy old bird”, made distinct by her plumage and “lightning bolt” mark on her eye.
Ranger Emma Rawling said staff and volunteers were so excited about the osprey’s return they cracked open a bottle of Champagne in celebration.
She said: “It’s Lady. She landed on the nest on Saturday afternoon and saw off the young female that had been around all week. The younger bird didn’t even put up a fight.
“Lady then started digging the nest, taking out grass that had grown over the winter and re-arranging sticks. She looked 100 per cent at home.
“The male arrived and was extremely comfortable. They wasted no time in mating three times in the afternoon.”
Miss Rawling said staff and volunteers were “thrilled” at the return of “an old friend”.
Lady is a wildlife phenomenon as she has lived three times longer than an average osprey.
She has also been celebrated by conservationists for her contribution to Scotland’s osprey population. She has already laid 64 eggs – with 49 going on to hatch and successfully fledge the nest. Lady also has an army of fans throughout the world, who monitor her progress via the SWT nest-cam. Her partner, christened Laddie, is her fourth and six-times her junior. They produced one chick last year. Known as Blue, it was satellite tagged and tracked over Spain before the signal was lost due to malfunction.