See that old bird – she's got a toy boy

YOU might not be able to teach an old bird new tricks, but that doesn't mean to say it can't get up to some old ones. The country's oldest female osprey has stunned experts by returning to her summer home at a wildlife reserve in Perthshire to produce an egg for a record-breaking 20th consecutive year.

As if to send a further frisson through the ageing osprey community, the grand dame – now 25 years old and well beyond the 14 years considered the cut-off point for new eggs – appears to have jilted her regular partner (seven years her junior) and taken up with a toy boy lover only ten years old.

The egg appeared after she had returned to Scotland on 23 March after completing a 3,000-mile migration from West Africa. It would be helpful to know more about this trip – and the destination. Was this a hen party migration looking for some away-from-it-all fun in the jungle? And who did she meet, exactly: was it Manuel, the love-sick waiter in the beach bar? Or an alpha-male on holiday and on the loose? It must have been some party.

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The exact journey and destination of the migrating osprey is one of the last mysteries of our natural world. Few are tracked over winter when they migrate to Africa. We will thus never know the secrets of this woman's heart. But she's left her regulars in no doubt on one point: there's life in the old bird yet.

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