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Welsh Osprey welcomes two chicks at Loch Lomond and Trossachs Park

Osprey pair feeding chicks (RSPB)
Osprey pair feeding chicks (RSPB)

ONE of only two female Welsh ospreys breeding successfully in the UK has hatched out two chicks in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

The osprey, named Clarach, was raised live on webcam as part of the Dyfi Osprey Project in mid-Wales. But she has chosen to nest 250 miles north of where she fledged, at the Aberfoyle Osprey Project, another nest monitored by webcam.

Clarach is the first osprey fledged from the Dyfi nest to make it back to the UK to breed. She is also the great grandchild of “Mr Rutland”, one of the most famous ospreys in the English osprey re-introduction programme.

Osprey from nest cam (RSPB)

Emyr Evans, from the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We’ve all been incredibly excited to hear that Clarach has returned safely from her perilous African migration, and has now settled down to raise a family of her own. To be able to watch her do this live on camera, is simply a privilege.

“Clarach was also spotted last year at nests with cameras across the country, including Glaslyn, Rutland and Kielder. She’s clearly a bird who’s not shy about showing off to the public, and that does seem to run in her family!”

Sarah Lester, the Wildlife Information and Education Officer for Forest Enterprise Scotland and RSPB Scotland, said: “Clarach originally hatched three chicks, but sadly one didn’t survive. However, the remaining two are doing great and are being well fed from the huge fish brought in by their father.

“He’s un-ringed, so unfortunately we know nothing about his history. But it just shows that when you have a ringed bird like Clarach, you can find out so much about the birds’ behaviour and movements. Her story is quite remarkable, and it’s brought a lot of interest from up and down the country, so if Clarach really was seeking fame, she’s certainly found it.”

Ospreys are fish-eating hawks which became extinct in the UK in 1916 due to illegal persecution. They re-colonised Scotland naturally in the 1950s and have slowly spread, with the UK population now estimated to be 250 breeding pairs.

Ospreys migrate to Africa every autumn and only around 30% of young birds survive long enough to return to the UK to breed. They normally raise two or three chicks, and are often site-faithful, returning year after year to a favourite nest.

The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre in Aberfoyle is open every day with live webcams on red squirrels, owls and other birds, as well as the ospreys. The wildlife viewing project is a partnership between RSPB Scotland and Forest Enterprise Scotland.