A BREEDING pair of ospreys have returned to Scotland on the same day for the first time.

The two birds of prey, named NC0 and LM12, arrived at the Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve in Perthshire on March 17.

The female, NC0, arrived back at 7:43am on Friday. According to the Scottish Wildlife Trust that is the earliest in the year she has ever returned to her Scots nest.

The male LM12 followed six hours later, “performing a sky dance just before landing”. He has come back four days later than in 2022, when he arrived on March 13, the earliest ever.

The National:

Perthshire ranger Sara Rasmussen said she was delighted to see both back in Perthshire again.

She said: “This is the earliest NC0 has ever arrived back and is looking in very good health after her long flight. She was ‘nestorating' straight away – giving the nest a tidy up.

“I was totally delighted to see her back this morning. When I saw her looking up from the nest into the sky, I grabbed a pair of binoculars and sure enough she had spotted her breeding mate LM12. Last year LM12 was first back with a record date of 13 March 2022.

“It is wonderful to have them both back together to breed and on the same day makes it extra special.”

The Scottish Wildlife Trust has a live webcam feed of their nest at the Loch of the Lowes (shown below).

NC0 was ringed as a chick near Loch Ness in 2016. She first bred in 2020 and has successfully raised five chicks. This will be the 12th breeding season for male osprey LM12 at Loch of the Lowes.

Ospreys were extinct in Britain for much of the 20th century.

They began to recover in the 1960s and an estimated 300 pairs of ospreys now breed in the UK each summer. They are one of these islands’ largest birds of prey and the only kind that eats fish exclusively.

Most of the birds migrate to West Africa, but some winter in Spain and Portugal.

The Osprey Protection Programme at the Loch of Lowes Wildlife Reserve receives money from the People’s Postcode Lottery.

Laura Chow, head of charities at the People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s reserve and webcam provide a perfect opportunity to view these incredible birds of prey up close and to learn more about their breeding behaviours and the challenges they face rearing a brood of young.”