The ospreys have returned for the breeding season at RSPB Scotland’s Loch Garten Osprey Centre in Strathspey.
Two birds – a female known as EJ and a male, the ringed “Orange VS” – were first spotted on Sunday afternoon (March 26th) having come all the way from West Africa.
But after the trials and tribulations of the birds’ breeding attempts last year, what they get up to in 2006 is anyone’s guess and is sure to be followed avidly by the many visitors to the Centre and those who keep up to date with their progress via the osprey web diary.
In 2005, EJ mated successfully with Orange VS and produced a number of eggs but the male disappeared, leaving her to vie for the attentions of two other male ospreys. Sadly, despite many twists and turns in their soap opera, the ospreys failed to rear any chicks at Loch Garten last year – which makes the prospects for 2006 all the more exciting.
“It’s always great to get your first glimpse of the birds when they’ve flown all the way from Africa and there’s a real sense of anticipation now about what lies ahead for the breeding season this year,” said Site Manager Richard Thaxton. “They are magnificent birds to watch and their antics as they prepare to mate and rear chicks are fascinating. Now we are awaiting the arrival of EJ’s old flame Henry – if and when he shows up the fun will really begin. Whatever happens we’re prepared for a gripping few weeks ahead.”
It is important that the newly arrived ospreys are allowed these first few days to settle-in, bond with each other and get used to the site once more. The Osprey Centre will therefore not open for public viewing until Saturday April 1st.