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Ospreys in Scotland

Posted by Luci Ackers on 23 June 2022
Related property: Tigh Mor Trossachs
Ospreys in Scotland

Ospreys had become extinct as a breeding bird in Britain as early as the 1800s. Reintroduction and recolonisation processes started up in the 20th century after the birds began to reappear in Scotland in 1953. The recolonisation was slow at first due to activities such as egg collecting. With increased protection, however, numbers began to improve and according to the RSPB there is now estimated over 200 nesting pairs in Britain.

The best place to see Ospreys is Scotland, and to increase awareness and interest many of the breeding sites and nature reserves that house the birds provide public viewing facilities allowing visitors to see these beautiful raptors for themselves. One of the most famous conservation sites is the Osprey Centre at the Loch Garten Reserve which is located in the Abernethy Forest in the Scottish Highlands. Here a breeding pair of Ospreys has nested successfully almost every year since 1959. The Loch Garten Ospreys Centre has some fantastic views of these birds, as well as good close-up nest views thanks to live feeds from non-invasive CCTV cameras. A blog keeps people up to date with all the news and the satellite tracking project which was begun in 2008 provides additional interesting information on the birds' migratory route.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust started their Osprey project more recently at the Loch of the Lowes Reserve which is located slightly further south near Dunkeld. Here the breeding ospreys nest just 150 metres from the observation hide. The adult birds incubate during the spring and you'll see them on their nest around April time. Usually two or three eggs are produced in total at roughly a day or two apart. The young ospreys make the migratory journey and will not return to the UK to breed until they are between three and five years old.

The Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is home to several nesting pairs who arrive back in Scotland each spring. Scottish Ospreys are very loyal to their mates and to their old nests, using the same site year after year. The birds can be spotted hunting in the summer months over Loch Lomond and will leave Britain again around August or September. Since 2005 ospreys have been breeding successfully on one of the islands in the centre of the Loch Lomond. These mighty birds have been in the Trossachs since the 1970s and the Aberfoyle Osprey Project, which is a partnership between the RSPB and the Forestry Commission Scotland, is a great way to get closer to them. If you visit The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre in Aberfoyle you can view the live-feed nest-cams, or have a wander through the forest and see if you can spot the ospreys from the hide. There are a number of walkways and trails leading from the Lodge through picturesque woodland to a beautiful waterfall. Take the opportunity to see these birds in their natural habitat and enjoy the beauty of this stunning National Park at the same time.

Ospreys webcam

During the right season, the Loch Garten ospreys webcam feed  gives fantastic views of the nest while the blog and the tracking project document all of their dramas and follow their movements. 

Scotish Ospreys FAQ

Where can I see an Osprey in Scotland?

Loch Garten nature reserve remains one of the best places to see Ospreys, after their recolonisation there in the 1950s. More recently, Ospreys have been seen at the Scottish Wildlife Trust;s Loch of the Lowes visitor centre, and have spread further throughout Scotland/

When can you see the Ospreys in Scotland?

The Ospreys begin to return to Scotland from South Africa in April, but your best chances of spotting one are betwwen June and August.

How many Ospreys are there in Scotland?

There are now thought to be between 250 and 300 breeding pairs in Scotland.

Are Ospreys endangered?

Osprey are not considered endangered worldwide. However, they are extinct or threatened in most of the European regions where they were once prolific. Only recently have their numbers started to recover in these areas, thanks to programmes such as those at Loch Garten and Loch of the Lowes.

Tigh Mor Trossachs is located just 15 minutes from Aberfoyle and is a fantastic base from which to explore the area. To find out how to stay here, simply follow the link below.


Luci Ackers

Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.

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