A much-loved male osprey who has been nesting at a Perthshire nature reserve for the past six years has returned to the site and hooked up with his previous mate.
The bird, known as LM12, touched down at Loch of the Lowes reserve, near Dunkeld, yesterday after flying around 5,000 miles from west Africa.
He was soon reunited with the female LF15, who arrived at the site on 20 March.
The pair have nested together for the past three years, successfully raising eight chicks since 2015.
Another male had been seen near the nest on Wednesday evening and yesterday morning but after arriving at the reserve just before noon LM12 soon chased off the rival bird.
After ensuring the intruder had left, the couple quickly mated. If the attempt was successful their first egg of the season could be laid in just over a week’s time.
Audiences around the globe will be watching to see what happens on a live nest cam at the reserve, which is run by the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT).
“It’s great to have our resident pair back at Loch of the Lowes and we’re hoping that they will be able to have another successful season together,” said Rachael Hunter, Perthshire ranger for SWT.
“We’ll be maintaining our round-the-clock watch on the nest to ensure the birds are protected from human disturbance and have the best possible chance of a successful season.
“LM12’s arrival is perfectly timed for Easter weekend – we’re expecting to be very busy with visitors over the next few days now that our resident birds have reunited.”
LM12 was previously coupled with the renowned veteran osprey Lady, who was thought to be around 29 years old when she was last seen in 2014 – nearly three times the usual lifespan for the species.
She raised a record 50 chicks during 24 years nesting at the reserve.
Ospreys are a specialised, fish-eating bird of prey, most similar to the buzzards or eagles in general appearance.
The species was extinct in the UK for much of the 20th century due to persecution, mainly by Victorian egg and skin collectors.
They began to recolonise in the 1960s and numbers have been increasing ever since.
Their recovery is considered one of the country’s biggest conservation success stories.
Around 260 pairs now breed here each summer, mostly north of the border.
SWT’s Osprey Protection Programme is supported by People’s Postcode Lottery.