Two osprey chicks that dodged the gaze of online fans this summer are finally on view with the release of pictures and video taken when they were ringed.

A nest camera supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery has been beaming out live action from Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in Lochaber since 2017.

This year only one of the adult ospreys returned and was lured away by a new mate to another nest several kilometres away in the forest.

The camera nest has lain empty for most of the summer and fans of the livestream have been deprived of viewing an osprey family at Loch Arkaig this year.

But now the two chicks have been filmed and photographed by ringer Lewis Pate, who also built the nesting platform where they were raised. Woodland Trust Scotland shared the images with expectant osprey fans. Watch the video.

The two chicks are believed to be male and have the ring numbers – LW3 and LW4.

George Anderson of Woodland Trust Scotland said:

“Even though we didn’t get to see all the action on our nest camera this year, it is great to know that osprey life has continued successfully at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest. Fingers crossed for a successful 2022 season, and if the osprey fates could smile on us – back in front of our camera please!”

The nest camera, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery has been operating since 2017 when Louis and Aila raised their first chick – Lachlan. In 2018 a pine marten made off with all the eggs but the birds were more successful in 2019 raising chicks Mallie and Rannoch.

Last year the camera became a huge lockdown hit and clocked up an audience of 400,000 worldwide as Louis and Aila raised chicks Doddie, Vera and Captain (named to honour Doddie Weir, Vera Lynn and Captain Sir Tom Moore.)

This year’s chicks have yet to be named. Groups of online camera fans will be given the task.

Louis and Aila were expected back at Loch Arkaig around 5 April this year. High winds held up quite a few migrating birds and Louis did not make an appearance until 11 April. Aila failed to appear at all. There is a chance she may have been blown off course and has made the best of it elsewhere this summer, but it may be that she has perished.

Louis had interest from a handful of other females and in the end followed one of them off to the new platform. He was last seen on the camera nest at the start of May.

In 2018 Woodland Trust Scotland built osprey platforms around the forest and ironically it is to one of these Louis and his new female flitted. This video shows the platform used this year being built by ringer Lewis Pate.

Another young pair of ospreys showed some interest in the camera nest but proved too inexperienced to breed this year. Woodland Trust Scotland hopes they may make use of the nest in future if Louis does not move back.

In 2016 local group Arkaig Community Forest bought Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in partnership with Woodland Trust. Together they will carefully restore this magnificent but degraded native woodland while delivering other environmental, social and economic benefits.

Arkaig Community Forest aims to restore native woodland habitats and to re-connect local people with the management and stewardship of the site and to use the woodlands to underpin sustainable rural development in the community of Achnacarry, Bunarkaig and Clunes.

Later this year Woodland Trust will begin extraction of 70,000 tonnes of non-native timber to free up the remaining ancient Caledonian pine trees to recolonise the site.

Notes to editors

For further information contact George Anderson on 07770 700631.

Woodland Trust Scotland is part of the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. The Woodland Trust 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 1,000 sites in its care covering over 29,000 hectares. In 1984, the Trust acquired its first wood in Scotland. Today it owns and cares for some 60 sites covering more than 8,000 hectares across Scotland. Access to its woods is free. 

The Woodland Trust is a charity registered in Scotland (No SC038885) and in England and Wales (No 294344). A non-profit making company limited by guarantee. Registered in England No 1982873. Registered Office: Kempton Way, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6LL. 

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, it aims 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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