Loch Arkaig osprey cam switched on for 2021 season

From left Vera, Doddie  and Captain. NO_T29_LochArkaigOspreys
From left Vera, Doddie  and Captain. NO_T29_LochArkaigOspreys

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A livestreaming osprey nest camera supported by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery has been switched back on after a stellar 2020 season.

Viewers of the nest at the Woodland Trust Scotland’s Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in Lochaber saw parent ospreys Louis and Aila raise three chicks last year. They were named Doddie, Vera and Captain in honour of Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir; Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn and centenarian NHS fundraiser Captain Tom Moore.

George Anderson of Woodland Trust Scotland said: ‘Our osprey nest livestream found a huge audience last summer, as people at home during lockdown craved contact with nature.’

The camera at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in Lochaber has been running since 2017. In 2019 it attracted an audience of 60,000 viewers. Last year its audience shot up to nearly 400,000.

The osprey family’s story began in 2017 when an inexperienced young male took possession of the nest at Loch Arkaig. He was nicknamed Lonesome Louis as it didn’t look like he would attract a mate.

But after 18 days Aila arrived and that first year they raised a single chick – Lachlan. In 2018 all three of the pair’s eggs were taken by a pine marten. In 2019 they successfully raised two female chicks – Rannoch and Mallie.

Loch Arkaig was the last known breeding site of ospreys in Britain before the species was wiped out around the time of the First World War. The species has been making a gradual comeback since returning to Loch Garten on Speyside in the 1950s.

Woodland Trust Scotland bought Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in 2016 in partnership with Arkaig Community Forest and with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

It has long term plans to restore the ancient forest while stimulating economic activity in the community. The camera offers a slice of forest life with the aim of publicising the restoration.

CAPTION: From left Vera, Doddie  and Captain.