Ospreys are large birds of prey that are known for their remarkable fishing abilities. They are found in many parts of the world, including the Scottish Highlands, where they are often seen around lochs and rivers. Here are a few pointers to osprey behavior and dispersion in the Scottish Highlands:
Nesting: Ospreys typically build their nests in tall trees or on rocky cliffs close to water bodies. In the Scottish Highlands, they often nest near lochs or rivers, where they can find plenty of fish to eat. The nesting season usually begins in April or May, and ospreys will often return to the same nest year after year.
Hunting: Ospreys are expert fishers, and they use their keen eyesight to spot fish swimming below the surface of the water. They will hover over the water before diving down to catch their prey with their sharp talons. Ospreys are capable of catching fish weighing up to 2kg (4.4lb), and they will carry their catch back to the nest to feed their young.
Dispersion: In the Scottish Highlands, ospreys are found in several locations, including Loch Garten, Loch of the Lowes, and Loch Arkaig. These locations have nesting platforms and hides for birdwatchers. While ospreys are known to migrate to Africa in the winter, some ospreys stay in Scotland year-round. These resident ospreys can often be spotted around the same lochs and rivers where they nest.
Conservation: Ospreys were once extinct in Scotland due to habitat loss and persecution, but they have made a remarkable comeback in recent years. Conservation efforts have included the provision of nesting platforms, protection from disturbance, and the monitoring of breeding success. The population of ospreys in Scotland has increased from zero in the 1950s to over 300 breeding pairs today.
Watching: Watching ospreys in the Scottish Highlands can be a rewarding experience for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Many sites have hides where visitors can watch ospreys nesting and fishing without disturbing them. Some sites also have live video feeds, which allow visitors to observe the birds from a distance. However, it is important to remember to respect the birds' space and avoid disturbing them during their nesting season.
In summary, ospreys in the Scottish Highlands are fascinating birds of prey with unique behaviors. They are expert fishers and are often seen around lochs and rivers where they build their nests. Conservation efforts have helped their population recover, and birdwatchers can enjoy observing them in their natural habitats while respecting their space.
Many workshops and guided tours are available to enable you to view and capture images of these magnificent fishermen of the skies. Alan & Ruth Davies come highly recommended to name but one.