Our camera looks at a very specific slice of Loch Arkaig life. We rejoice when a fish is brought in. Had we all been following the life of one of the Loch’s beautiful speckled trout would the osprey have been our villain when it swooped to end the show? Had we a camera in a pine marten den, would we have celebrated this morning to see father bringing in breakfast?
The big picture
The difference between being an animal lover and being a nature conservationist is that the animal lover dwells on the individual creature while the conservationist is concerned with how a whole species is doing and how it fits into the community of life. So while Louis and Aila have lost their precious eggs, there are other ospreys which will raise chicks across Scotland and Britain this year, and the species will continue its marvellous comeback. There are enough ospreys around Loch Arkaig for me to confidently predict that there will be chicks and some will get to Africa before the year is out.
While there are pine martens and ospreys there will always be pine martens taking osprey eggs. And remember both of these creatures were nearly wiped out, not by each other but by the persecution they suffered at the hands of people. As species they are well capable of coping with the threats of each other.
That is not to say that our hearts do not break for Louis and Aila – especially today as we watched Louis dutifully continue to sit on the nest, bewildered but still determined to soldier on.