Well-stocked fisheries have proved to be a Godsend to the osprey population, a bird that was once so rare that chances to seem them in the wild was an extreme rarity.
One such fishery, Lochter Activity Centre and Fishery, Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, went one step further than most, when five years ago they erected a nesting tree, which was fixed a wooden basket. A few sticks were placed in the basket and within two days a pair of ospreys had begun filling the nest box with more sticks to create a substantial nest.
After initial set-backs when a buzzard took and killed a chick, and the following year when the chicks were too big to take, but were knocked from the nest. One was returned and the SSPCA cared for and released the other, this year has been a real success story. The resident pair as have reared three fine chicks. These are currently at the fledging stage and will make their first solo flight any day now. Father is an excellent fisher and provides his family with regular supplies of trout while mother, perhaps mindful of her earlier experience, is very protective of her chicks, chasing any intruding buzzards for dear life and standing guard night and day. It costs the business an estimated £4000 per year to feed the ospreys, but Lochter MD Euan Webster said, “It is a small price to pay to be able to follow the lives of such wonderful birds. They are like friends to us and long may they flourish”