AN unlucky pair of rare ospreys whose nests fell prey to the weather are being given a hand to make a secure home.

The amber-listed birds have been making the long journey back from Africa to breed in Scotland only for gales to blast their nests to the ground. Despite the wreckage they have managed to breed successfully in gusty Glenogil in Angus for the last two years but a wildlife photographer has stepped in to make sure they can continue to raise their young safely.

Gordon Linton, a passionate raptor watcher who has been keeping an eye on the pair for some time, decided he didn’t want to see another nest hit the ground so asked permission from the landowner to build something more secure. He contacted gamekeepers from the Angus Glens Moorland Group, who helped him source specialist equipment.

Gordon and his brother, Peter, took advice from senior raptor conservationist Roy Dennis and built a secure platform and nest. Last weekend, the brothers joined gamekeepers in securing the structure high in a tree where the birds had previously nested successfully. The new nest will offer more stability from the gusts coursing across the glen.

Using a JCB with tele handler and basket and with expert assistance from head forester on Kinnordy Estate, James Hughes, the nest was raised high and fixed into place. It was then floored with appropriate bedding and hay.

Now it is hoped the ospreys will enjoy a successful breeding season on their return from Senegal, with a little more assurance that their nest won’t be blown from the trees this year.

“These ospreys have bred successfully for a number of years in Glenogil but the last two years have been very difficult due to winds collapsing the nests,” said Gordon.

“After witnessing storms leave half of the nest on the grass last year, we decided something would need to be done. The birds were coming such a long way, only for that to happen, so my brother and I asked permission from the landowner to go about building something more secure.

Gamekeeper Barry Wilkie said he was more than happy to assist the precarious operation. “We are really keen to see the birds do well,” he said. “We’ve had a good relationship with Gordon for a long time and were really supportive of what he was trying to do so it is nice to be a small part of something which could lead to a positive outcome for the birds.”

Ospreys, which have a wingspan of more than 1.5 metres, were persecuted to extinction in the UK in the 1800s but are now in recovery phase after the birds began to turn up once more in Scotland in the late 1950s. There are now more than 200 breeding pairs in Scotland.