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Fans of the Loch Arkaig osprey nest which became an online sensation during 2020’s lockdown are on tenterhooks to see if it will host a feathered family this year.
Things looked bleak when only the male, Louis, returned from migration. They looked bleaker still when he followed a new female off to another nest several kilometres away. New hope emerged last Tuesday, however, when two new ospreys touched down and mated on the nest.
George Anderson of Woodland Trust Scotland said: ‘It has been something of a rollercoaster of hope and despair.
‘With no signs of ospreys for over a week and time marching on, we thought the camera’s season was over. Then a pair arrived on Tuesday afternoon spending over an hour on the nest before disappearing again.
‘The online following will be glued to their screens this week to see if this new pair comes back. They are likely our last chance of family life on the nest this year.’
The live nest camera, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, has been streaming footage of breeding ospreys from Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in Lochaber since 2017.
The resident pair, Louis and Aila, usually return to the nest in early April, but high winds held up many migrating birds this year. Louis appeared on April 11, a week later than expected, but his breeding partner Aila is now a month overdue and not expected to appear.
Louis and his new mate have moved to a nesting platform which was built in the hope of attracting more ospreys to nest in the area.
Louis and Aila raised their first chick, Lachlan, in 2017. In 2018, the nest failed after a pine marten raided the eggs. In 2019 they raised Mallie and Rannoch. In 2020 they raised Doddie, Vera and Captain with an audience of more than 400,000 watching online.
Click here to watch a video of the new arrivals.