Osprey who rose to fame during lockdown welcomes earliest egg of season

An osprey who rose to fame as an online star during the first COVID lockdown has welcomed the earliest egg of the season in the Scottish Highlands.

Louis and his mate, Dorcha, arrived back from their southern migration to their nest in Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in Lochaber on 28 and 30 March respectively.

The first egg of the season was laid on Sunday morning, a week earlier than the forest's previous record.

The moment was caught on the Woodland Trust Scotland's live nest camera, which clocked up 400,000 views in 2020 when Louis nested with a previous mate.

George Anderson, from the trust, said the pair were back much earlier than usual this year and the group is not sure why, though it may be due to fair weather along the route from western Africa.

"The earliest Arkaig egg we have seen before was on April 21, so this is a whole week earlier than usual," he added.

"Fingers crossed they will have a full clutch of three eggs by next weekend.

"All being well, we will have chicks hatching in late May. They will be flying by July and crossing continents by summer's end.

"The magic of that just never gets old."

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Woodland Trust Scotland has been operating the live nest camera since 2017 with support from players of People's Postcode Lottery.

The forest is home to wild boar, sea eagles, golden eagles, ospreys, pine martens and deer among many other species.