Ospreys on a live online nest camera in Lochaber have welcomed their first chick of the season.

The Woodland Trust hopes the osprey family, who are providing a beneficial dose of nature during lockdown, will continue to grow over the next week.

Chick number one arrived just before noon on Friday 29 May, one of warmest Lochaber days of the year so far. It is the first of the three eggs on the nest to hatch.

The live nest camera, supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery, has been streaming footage of the family online since 2017. During lockdown this year the camera has seen an incredible 340% increase in users via the Woodland Trust website.

View at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/ospreycam

Sanjay Singh, senior programme manager at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “We are delighted that support from our players helps bring this wildlife spectacle to homes across the country and indeed the world. Contact with the natural world is so important, so it’s particularly rewarding to see increasing numbers of people enjoying nature in action whilst we are spending so much time at home to keep ourselves and each other safe.”
 
In 2016 Woodland Trust Scotland bought the spectacular 2,500 acre site in partnership with local group Arkaig Community Forest. It contains areas of magnificent but degraded ancient Caledonian pinewood, which has been planted with non-native conifers. A recently completed bridge and track upgrade will allow the extraction of huge quantities of non-native timber – freeing up Loch Arkaig’s ancient pine trees to recolonise the hillsides with their seedlings. The restoration aims to demonstrate that conservation management can provide social and economic benefits for local communities.
 
Players of People’s Postcode Lottery are the lead funders of Loch Arkaig Pine Forest.

What we've achieved so far

  • Sensitively upgraded and strengthened tracks and bridges to allow access to this remote site for restoration
  • Repaired deer-proof fencing to allow native plants to return and thrive
  • Removed invasive non-native rhododendron which were stifling other plants, from 880 acres of forest.

Over the next five years we will

  • Remove 70,000 tonnes of non-native trees using specialist equipment
  • Fight tree disease by taking out infected lodgepole pine
  • Restore up to 620 acres of degraded peatland habitats
  • Control invasive non-native species such as Japanese knotweed.

Commandos from various Allied armies trained at Loch Arkaig during World War II. The forest is home to sea eagles, golden eagles, ospreys, pine marten, otters and deer amongst many other species.

Woodland Trust sites across the UK remain open for exercise, but in line with Government advice we discourage distance travel for recreation. Publicity for the Loch Arkaig osprey camera should not be taken as encouragement to visit the site. The osprey nest is in any case not accessible to visitors. The ospreys are best appreciated online, even in normal times.

Notes to editors

For further information contact Jillian Donnachie, Woodland Trust Scotland, jilliandonnachie@woodlandtrust.org.uk, mobile 07810 500371

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims:  

  1. protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable
  2. restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life
  3. plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,200 sites in its care covering approximately 29,000 hectares. Access to its woods is free so everyone can benefit from woods and trees.

Arkaig Community Forest is a local community-based charity, which shares ambitious plans to restore native woodland habitats across the entire forest and demonstrate the ecological, social and economic value of ancient woodland restoration. In particular, we aim to support the remote community living around the forest to benefit from active sustainable forest management activities such as woodfuel production, eco-tourism and adding value to timber.

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