Wildlife enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting this year’s first sightings of some of Scotland’s most iconic birds of prey as they return to nest after wintering in Africa.
Eyes will be on the heavens over Perthshire in coming days, in the hope of catching a glimpse of ospreys as they fly in to seek out mates over the next few weeks.
Last year the first bird – a male known as LM12 – to arrive at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes nature reserve touched down on 16 March.
His was the earliest appearance of a resident there in nearly half a century.
His mate, LF15, arrived at the reserve a few days later – on 23 March.
The pair have been breeding at the site since 2015, successfully hatching eight chicks.
“Ospreys typically arrive at Loch of the Lowes in late March but the first bird could appear on the nest any day now,” said SWT’s Perthshire ranger Rachael Hunter, who works at the reserve.
“We have been busy preparing for their arrival by recruiting the team of dedicated volunteers and species protection officers who will help carry out the 24-hour Osprey Watch that is in place once an egg is laid.”
Ospreys were once extinct in the UK, but began reappearing in the 1960s. Around 260 pairs now breed here each summer.