Pine marten raids Loch Arkaig osprey nest

NO F20 osprey nest and pine marten

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There was sad news from Loch Arkaig, with the three osprey eggs being taken by a pine marten during the night.

Observers this morning noted the eggs were missing and a trawl back through video footage during the hours of darkness revealed the four-legged culprit.

You can view the video here.

The live web cam showing nesting ospreys Louis and Aila has proved a massive hit with regular watchers logging in from across the world.

After news broke of the pine marten’s raid on the nest almost 30,000 people had logged comments on The Woodland Trust website by this morning.

The osprey team had cut off the lower branches of the tree atop which the nest sits and covered the lower reaches with a slick coating to make it slippy in an effort to deter predators.

But George Anderson of The Woodland Trust, said that while upsetting to see, it is part of the natural way of things and that is what the osprey project team set out to show the public with the live video footage from the nest site.

‘When we have sympathy for a particular species, then such things are distressing. A great many people here in Lochaber and around the world have invested a great deal of emotional energy in these birds.

‘But the aim of our web cam project has been to show all of these dramas which occur in nature – good and bad – to hopefully let people see the bigger picture.’

Mr Anderson says the web cam will remain on, although probably not to the original end date of September.

‘Louis and Aila will probably stick around the nest for a few days or even weeks, but then they’ll most likely move out into the wider area, roosting and fishing, before heading back to Africa earlier than usual. That’s what normally happens with ospreys that fail to breed successfully.

‘But they will be back and there are enough ospreys around Loch Arkaig for me to confidently predict there will be chicks and some will get to Africa before the year is out.

‘While there are pine martens and ospreys there will always be pine martens taking eggs. Always have been and always will be so long as they are both around.

‘It is important not to see the pine marten as a villain in all this. It is just doing what pine martens do, like the ospreys are doing what they do.

‘Both of these species came close to being wiped out in the past and it was nothing to do with each other, but with people.’