A WILDLIFE charity has had no takers for a plum job in the great outdoors working with Scotland’s most famous fish-eating bird of prey - Lady the osprey.
Lady, thought to be 29, Europe’s oldest breeding osprey, is due to return from Africa to Perthshire in the next few days for a landmark 25th year.
It is hoped she will again mate with her “toyboy” lover Laddie, her fourth male since she began breeding at the Loch of the Lowes nature reserve near Dunkeld, and fledge what will be her 51st chick.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT), which runs the Loch of the Lowes and its visitor centre and observation hide, began advertising some time ago for a wildlife conservation assistant to help with the influx of twitchers, bird lovers, serious ornithologists and the just plain curious who are expected to flock to the spot once Lady touches down and the courtship rituals begin.
The placement lasts six months, and is funded through the government’s Community Jobs Scotland Work scheme.
Visitor centre manager Jonathan Pinnick said today: “We do this every year, but this year we haven’t had a single applicant.
“We can’t understand it.”
The job entails practical conservation work, wildlife observation and recording, planning and running events, and “customer service and public engagement”.
In the hope of attracting more applicants, the Trust has now extended the age range for applicants, previously set at 16 to 19, up to 24.
Mr Pinnick said: “By doing this, we hope to appeal to recent graduates looking for their first job in conservation.”
An SWT spokesman confirmed: “Due to a lack of interest in our Community Jobs Scotland vacancy for a 16-19 year old to complete a six month paid placement at Loch of the Lowes, the age restriction for this post have been relaxed to allow applicants up to the age of 24. If you know anyone who may be interested in applying for the position please pass this on.”
Because it is a funded role, all applications have to be made through Jobcentre Plus or Skills Development Scotland, but anyone wanting more information can contact the Loch of the Lowes centre on 01350 727 337, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanhile, staff at the Loch are counting down the days to Lady’s expected return.
Her earliest-ever arrival was on 20th March in 2009 and her latest arrival was on 7th April in 199, the first year she ever appeared.
Last year she turned up on March 31st. Laddie had arrived ten days earlier and had already begun to flirt with another, younger, female before Lady flew back into his life, feathers and talons flying, and saw off the whippernapper.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust has launched a competition supported by the People’s Postcode Lottery to guess when Lady might arrive.
The winner of the competition will be treated to a once-in-a-lifetime, VIP Osprey Experience at Loch of the Lowes plus an osprey adoption pack.
Members of the public can enter the People’s Postcode Lottery Osprey Countdown by visiting scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/osprey-countdown
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