Delight as first osprey of season hatches on camera

The first osprey chick of the season has hatched at one of Scotland's most famous nests.

The first osprey chick of the season has hatched at the Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve near Dunkeld.

Female osprey Lassie has been incubating three eggs at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve near Dunkeld, 
Perthshire.

Cracks appeared in an egg on the nest at 12.30pm on 
Saturday and after two hours Lassie stood up to reveal a tiny chick, still curled up from being inside the egg. This is the earliest recorded hatching at the reserve since 2005, when the first chick emerged on 12 May.

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The new chick is the 82nd egg to hatch at Loch of the Lowes since the osprey protection programme started in 1969.

Resident raptors Lassie and the male, known as Laddie, are still incubating another two eggs, due to hatch in the next few days.

Rab Potter, the SWT’s reserves manager, said: “Our team of staff and volunteers has been watching the nest around the clock since the first egg was laid and we’re 
delighted that the first chick has now made an appearance.

“All being well, the next two eggs will hatch over the next few days. We’d encourage 
people to keep an eye on our live webcam for a chance to see the chicks emerge.”

Last year, the pair fledged three chicks, which could return to Scotland in one or two years.

Osprey chicks grow quickly, fuelled by a high-protein diet of pike, trout and other
fish brought to the nest by their parents. They are initially covered in down but start to grow new feathers within days and are ready to fly after seven to eight weeks.

Once extinct in the UK, there are now about 240 breeding pairs of ospreys helped by the efforts of nature conservation charities including the SWT, whose protection programme is supported by players of 
People’s Postcode Lottery.

Clara Govier, head of charities at the People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Our players will be delighted that the ospreys at Loch of the Lowes are having another successful season. It’s amazing to think that this tiny chick will be ready for a long migration south in just a few months.”

Last month, it emerged that two ospreys that have bred 17 chicks over the last eight years have returned to a Highland wildlife reserve for their ninth breeding season. Female EJ and male Odin are the most successful breeding pair at RSPB Scotland’s Loch Garten site near Grantown on Spey.