(Photo courtesy of NASA from National Geographic article)
I took a short trip down to Loch Garten today with friends to see the ospreys on the nest before they move south – the friends, that is, not the ospreys! The ospreys have recently returned from over-wintering on the west coast of Africa. The first to return was the female, EJ who arrived on the 24th March. For the first week or so after arriving she didn’t spend the night on the nest – instead she went to roost on a nearby tree. There then followed a week or more where the staff and fans of the Loch Garten centre watched and waited anxiously to see if her partner from the past two years would return. Odin eventually arrived a week ago (2nd April) and since them the two have been going about their business: gathering nesting materials to tidy the nest; catching fish from the nearby lochs; and mating. They have mated about 80 times in the past week and we were fortunate to see them mating today when we were in the visitor centre.
The centre gives fantastic views of the nest site and with the binoculars and telescopes provided you can see them up close and personal. But the nest and ospreys are close enough to see clearly by eye.
The video clip shows Odin bringing half a fish to EJ who then flies off to the perching tree to eat it.
The ongoing discussion is about when the eggs will be laid. In 2009 Odin arrived 3rd April and the first egg appeared on the 16th April. Last year was similar, Odin arrived 3rd April and the first egg was seen on 15th April.
You can watch the unfolding action on the live webcam: Loch Garten webcam
The Loch Garten reserve is run by the RSPB (who also own the surrounding Abernethy woods) and is open 7 days a week from now up until the end of August. The woodland is also a great spot to see red squirrels (we saw several this morning). crested tit, capercaillie. Scottish cross-bill, and on the loch, goldeneye.
Or to visit the centre go here