THE former mate of Europe’s oldest breeding osprey stood up proudly in his nest today to reveal the latest addition to his family.
Laddie, the resident male osprey at the Loch of the Lowes reserve in Perthshire, hatched numerous chicks with his old partner, Lady, who was thought to be a remarkable 29 years old.
But when she failed to return this year from her annual migration to Africa, Laddie quickly paired up with a new partner at the reserve, near Dunkeld - younger bird Lassie, who had been waiting in the wings for his affection.
After some “enthusiastic” matings, the pair produced three eggs, the first of which was laid on April 14th.
On Thursday, at 11.38pm, the first egg hatched.
Charlotte Fleming, ranger at the reserve, said: “Volunteers on Thursday night reported the female looking slightly restless but there was little in the way of the tell-tale egg-hatching behaviour. However after 11pm the female looked unsettled and couldn’t seem to get comfortable sitting in the nest. When she stood up at 11.38pm the faintest glimpse of movement was seen and footage suggests this may well have been the first images of the new chick. Another brief definite movement was captured at 12.51am.
“Subsequently, both birds were incubating well, limiting the viewing opportunities until finally at 8.36am our male stood up to show off his newest offspring.”
Satff say Lassie has a long way to go to equal Lady’s record of fledging a record 50 young in her remarkable life, and the jury is out on how Laddie and Lassie will knuckle down to the stresses of family life.
But Miss Fleming said: “While both birds seemed a little surprised by their new addition, they appear to be coping well so far.
“The first real test of parenthood will be providing for and feeding the chick, so we will all be watching carefully for the first fish delivery and the chick’s first meal.”
She added: “It’s an exciting new beginning for the ospreys.
“This new female could be the new ‘Lady’.
“She could be here for another 23 years, just like Lady, you never know.”