Since 2017 players of People's Postcode Lottery have been supporting live streaming osprey cameras at the Woodland Trust's Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in the Scottish Highlands. It's been a great success.

But in 2020 something extraordinary happened. During the pandemic lockdown the ospreys were just the dose of nature people needed in their lives. The camera audience soared from 60,000 to nearly 400,000.

Ospreys Louis and Aila arrived back at Loch Arkaig in April and three eggs were laid later in the month. Three little puffball chicks hatched by the start of June.

In just over a few weeks the chicks have put on an amazing growth spurt and look like junior dinosaurs. Earlier in July the trio were ringed and we were able to get a closer look at them. The chicks were estimated to be two males and a female: Doddie, Vera and Captain.

The three young ospreys exercise their wing muscles and practice rising above the nest. By late July the young birds take their first flights. Here's Doddie taking to the skies. Look at him go!

Here's a lovely late summer moment as all three chicks enjoy the evening sun.

Throughout August the family began to leave Loch Arkaig one at a time to make their way south.

Just look at some of these responses from viewers of the camera:

Sharon Mcgrath - This site has got me through lockdown and I have fallen in love with these beautiful birds.

David Haw - In this incredibly trying year it has been one break in the clouds.

Pauline Brown - I play the Postcode Lottery and am proud that we are supporting this incredible cause. Wouldn't have it any other way!

Lindsay Smith - You've kept me sane during lockdown.

Andrea Hargreaves - Thank you to the Woodland Trust for their important work and to the People's Postcode Lottery. I have loved every minute!

Victoria - Watching the three chicks develop from eggs to beautiful fledglings has kept me sane throughout all this.

Gilly Robinson - Watching this nest during this pandemic has given me such enormous pleasure and has been a breath of fresh air - a chance to get away (if only in my mind) from the stresses and anxieties of everyday life in lockdown.

It really does mean a lot to people this year.

What a summer it has been. Many thanks to all of the Woodland Trust staff and volunteers who made the Arkaig osprey livestream such a success. And everyone watching and commenting too. And of course thank you to the players of People's Postcode Lottery for making all this possible.

The birds have migrated to West Africa for winter, lucky for them, but we hope to see Louis and Aila again next year raising more chicks. Come back in spring 2021 to check this out. Get a little slice of the wild Highlands wherever you are.

Help us look after their home

Our experts are working to restore Loch Arkaig Pine Forest - our ospreys' home - for wildlife and visitors. But we can't do it without your support.

Help us continue our vital work

The story so far

Our live nest camera, supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery, has been streaming footage of breeding ospreys from Loch Arkaig Pine Forest since 2017.

Our resident pair Louis and Aila returned to the nest in April 2020. Aila laid three eggs in May, and all three resulting chicks - Doddie, Vera and Captain - successfully fledged. 

The camera will be live again in spring 2021 to bring you a wild slice of forest life from the Scottish Highlands. We hope to see Louis and Aila back in April for another successful breeding season.

2017
New parents
Our young pair took over the nest and raised a single chick, a male named Lachlan.
2018
Tragedy strikes
Louis and Aila returned for a second year and laid three eggs, but the clutch was stolen by a hungry pine marten.
2019
Two more youngsters
A little more experienced this time, the parents fledged two females named Mallie and Rannoch.
2020
Their best year yet
Three chicks - two males and one female - kept viewers company through lockdown.

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Discover how it's done

The osprey cam has been made possible thanks to support from players of People's Postcode Lottery.