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Woodland Trust Scotland is asking the public to help name two Lochaber-born osprey chicks which have braved owl attacks and the threat of pine martens in the first month of their lives.
The two chicks at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest were ringed by a member of the Highland Raptor Study Group last Thursday, with help from the Lochaber Times’ own environment correspondent, Holly Gillibrand, and measurements indicate the chicks are both female.
People all over the world have been following their story on a live streaming nest camera supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
George Anderson of Woodland Trust Scotland told us: ‘There was a size disparity right away and the second chick took quite a battering in its early days, while the older one hogged most of the fish.
‘The wee one learned to give as good as she got though, and their sizes have gradually equalised. The ringer weighed them each as 1.49kg.
‘We are asking the public to suggest names on our osprey page. Later next week we will pick a few of the best suggestions and put them to a public vote. It would be great to hear names that reflect the area or the bird’s particular character.
‘The forest has lots of history to draw on with stories of buried Jacobite treasure through to commando training during the Second World War.
‘The sibling rivalry might throw up a few ideas and it would be great to see Gaelic language and culture in the mix too.’
There is no prize for the name game but Woodland Trust Scotland is offering an exclusive wildlife tour of Loch Arkaig in a free-to-enter competition on the osprey page of its website.
Wildlife expert Lewis Pate, who ringed the ospreys, will take the winner on a tour of the loch, and there is a two-night stay at the Moorings Hotel in Fort William included. Anyone who goes to the website can suggest names for the birds and enter the competition.
Loch Arkaig parent ospreys Louis and Aila are now in their third nesting season. They raised their first chick, Lachlan in 2017.
Last year their clutch of three eggs was taken by a pine marten, then the tree was struck by lightning which broke the camera.
This year has seen better luck but they have come through a turf-war with tawny owls nesting nearby. For some weeks, there were almost nightly owl attacks on the nest – all repelled by Aila.
The two female osprey chicks at Loch Arkaig were ringed last week and now need names. Photograph: Lewis Pate.
NO F28 osprey chicks ringed