Old Lady of the loch returns

Britain’s oldest breeding Osprey has returned to the Scottish loch she calls home.

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Britain’s oldest breeding Osprey has returned to the Scottish loch she calls home.

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Affectionately known as ‘Lady’ by the staff and bird enthusiasts at Loch of Lowes nature reserve, the pescatarian bird of prey is back for the 22nd consecutive summer.

It’s quite an achievement considering most Ospreys live for between 10 and 15 years in the wild. However, at an estimated 29 years old, Lady continues to make the 3000-mile migration from Western Africa to Northern Europe each year to breed.

Emma Rawling, a ranger from the Scottish Wildlife Trust, said, “It is an amazing achievement for her to return to Loch of the Lowes for her 22nd breeding year, making her at least in her mid-twenties. We are certain she is the oldest breeding osprey in the UK.”

Last year saw her 50th chick hatch, a remarkable landmark after observers at the loch feared for her life in 2010.

Illness caused her to stop eating that year and many thought that she would die, but a sudden recovery saw her return to fitness. She returned to the nest the following year, but sadly her eggs failed to hatch.

That was expected to be the last time she would visit these shores, but she’s back again, along with her toy-boy partner.

Most female Ospreys produce around 20 chicks in a lifetime. Lady has been mother to 48, only losing one clutch of eggs back in 2011.

Lady and her male counterpart have now been placed under 24-hour protection as they attempt to raise a new brood over the summer.

Ospreys are most commonly spotted in North East Scotland, but there are also populations dotted around Britain. There are two breeding pairs in Wales, a pair in Bassenthwaite in Cumbria and at Rutland Water in the East Midlands, where they were introduced in 2001.

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For the latest from the Loch of Lowes, check the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s live Osprey webcam.