Veteran osprey lays her first egg of 2010

A A A

Britain's oldest breeding female osprey has produced her first egg of the season, wildlife experts confirmed yesterday.

The osprey returned to the Scottish Wildlife Trust's (SWT) Loch of the Lowes wildlife reserve last month for the 20th year in a row, and has been spotted hunching over an egg by wildlife watchers logging on to a webcam positioned close to the nest.

The 25-year-old bird of prey has now produced 56 eggs in her lifetime, and has managed to rear 46 chicks. Most ospreys only live for an average of eight years and produce an estimated 20 eggs in that time, so the female is described by the trust as "a wonder of nature".

Her extensive experience has come in handy in helping her to train up her new, younger mate. According to the trust, the 10-year-old male – who is not the female osprey's usual partner – was "initially a bit confused" about his role as a prospective father.

Male ospreys provide food for the females as they sit on the nest, bring sticks to maintain its condition and protect it against other males. The female has been calling out repeatedly to show her displeasure, in a bid to get him to work harder at his duties.

Emma Rawling, the SWT Perthshire ranger appointed to protect the osprey during the breeding season, said conservationists at the reserve had been "jumping for joy" since they discovered the female had successfully bred again.

"The osprey faced persecution in the early 20th century and was very nearly driven to extinction by 1916," she said. "But our old girl seems determined to do her bit to help repopulate the species. This is the 56th egg she has produced, and so far 46 chicks have successfully fledged the nest over previous breeding seasons."

She said the bonding behaviour between the couple would increase now that an egg had been laid, but warned the relationship might not be all plain sailing.

"If the usual mate of our osprey returns we could witness a battle in the skies, as our resident male will try to chase away the young male and take his place in rearing any young," she said.

"However," she added, "as the days pass by it is becoming more likely that we won't see our resident male. We fear he has perished during the 3,000-mile migration from West Africa."

Every year ospreys migrate from Africa, arriving in the UK in March and April to breed, but little is known about the details of their journey. The SWT is raising money to buy a satellite tag for at least one osprey to track its fortunes once it leaves the reserve. There are estimated to be around 150 osprey pairs breeding in the UK, most of which are found in Scotland.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test