Loch Arkaig Ospreys/Woodland Trust - 2019

Loch Arkaig web cam should be found here - at the moment is is showing a video of the history of Aila and Louis, and I assume it will be live later in March. It's worth watching!

2008  A pair may have started nesting at Loch Arkaig

2009  Chick  White KL(09) f, hatched 2009 Loch Arkaig, Inverness seen in Senegal, 2011 & 2012, 2016 by Rutland team and Chris Wood.                

2013  The likely first breeding year of White KL(09)f and unringed male at Bassenthwaite 

2015   No chicks

2016   No chicks

2017   The nesting platform used by the birds for more than ten years has been rebuilt almost from scratch as, with the birds adding new material every spring, it          was beginning to sag under its own weight

Unringed m 10 April named Louis m arrived. Inconclusive whether same 10-yr male, but later consensus was that he was a  first-time breeder

Unringed f    30 April new unringed female, named Aila, accepted by Louis    

Aila laid three eggs, two chicks hatched but the second which had struggled out of the egg, died.  Blue JH4(17)m was named  Lachlan      

2018  Both Aila and Louis returned, three eggs were laid, but on 11 May in the dark hours of the morning Aila left the nest to stretch her wings and a pine marten    appeared, and took one of the eggs.  Five minutes later, with Aila not having returned, the pine marten removed the second egg.  At 03.52 the pine marten        returned and removed the third and last egg.

Aila and Louis remained together, bonding, for the rest of the season, tending and defending the nest.


On another nest, ca 2km away, a single chick was raised, Blue JH5(18), with an upside down ring. - does anyone know the sex?  


On 21 January 2019 BBC News reported the death of Blue JH3(17)m, named Pean after another local glen.  Pean, hatched at another Loch Arkaig nest off the Woodland Trust land,.had been found on 28 December at the Marjal Pego-Oliva Nature Reserve, between Alicante and Valencia.  He had been electrocuted.  A sad start to the year.

Birdie's DU Summaries 2018

  • Thanks for creating this Sheila, hopefully there'll be lots of good news to report from the nest this season :)

  • In reply to Mary C:



    However, it's black at the mo - I got this snap by scrolling back - it was raining at that time:

    Tiger's Osprey Info & World Bird Cams

  • I"m sure that anybody who followed the Loch Arkaig nest last season is more than aware of the problems experienced by the nest cam & its complete failure part way through the season. I must say though that it wasn't through any lack of determination & effort on Woodland Trust's part, to resolve the issue, that we didn't get to see Louis & Aila fly off into the sunset

    In light of these problems the team have made various technical changes, including an additional camera should one fail, in readiness for the new season. The other fly in the ointment, otherwise known as a pesky pine marten, has also been addressed, by making changes at the site.

    For those of you not in the f/b group, I've shared, with George's (Woodland Trust) permission his updates from this week.

    The equipment had a run through at the nest site yesterday. A new back up camera is cabled in should we need it. The original camera is on and has been tested. It works! Surge protection has been added to the cameras and the other equipment on the hill. The set-up is now modular rather than hard wired. That means it is easier to take one element out of the chain and replace it if anything goes wrong. Remember this is one of the most technically challenging nest camera operations around. The site is remote from electricity supply and internet connectivity so there is the camera, its solar power gubbins, and the dish system that sends the signal across the loch to where it can be relayed into Lochielnet's cable. Lots to go wrong. Nothing did in year 1 - we weren't so lucky in year two. Everything has been done to minimize problems in the coming third season. We are currently all set. Live stream switch-on is likely to be next month.

    Not sure which is the new one and which is the old, but here are the two cameras on the ground prior to fitting up the tree earlier this week.

    We have fitted an extra camera as back up in case anything goes wrong with the first. I am sure it would not be long before someone suggests how about having both working at once! That isn't practical unfortunately. The flinging of one signal across the loch is already witchcraft!

    In order to discourage pine martens the tree had all of its branches within jumping distance of the ground pruned off. The base of the trunk has a slick covering applied, which is difficult for martens to get a purchase on. After a marten raided the nest last year, we noticed that there was a loose branch which had fallen down and offered an entry point. It is likely to have come off of another tree in high winds. It has been removed and we have looked around to make sure no other likely falling branches are in the vicinity. We are currently looking into fixing an electric tape around the trunk to give any approaching predators a mild shock. Martens are determined and resourceful creatures however, so nothing can be guaranteed. And they are not called "pine" martens for nothing! It is possible that the best deterrent will be our osprey's experience. Having flown off the nest the last time, perhaps Aila will realise sitting tight is the best defence when a marten approaches. The longstanding female at Loch Garten lost eggs when she was young and flew up from a pine marten. More recently she sat tight and saw one off. If a marten does succeed in predating the nest again this year we would be disappointed from the point of view of our camera, but I would remind everyone that this is an entirely natural event. Both ospreys and pine martens came near extinction at the hands of people, but they pose no threat to the survival of each other as a species. Down in the loch there are wee insects getting eaten by trout, which in turn will be eaten by the ospreys, which from time to time may lose eggs to a pine marten. That is how it goes. There are osprey nests all over the UK without cameras on them, where no steps have been taken to stop predators. The species soldiers on regardless. There are enough of them now that we don't need to panic about this. That said, if one of the wee x&%$£s has a go again this year I'm going to have it made into a sporran! ;)

  • In reply to scylla:

    Wow, thanks scylla :)
  • Quote "That said, if one of the wee x&%$£s has a go again this year I'm going to have it made into a sporran! ;)"

    I understand his sentiment!

    Birdies LG DU update.

  • Hi all, thank you Sheila for setting up this thread. I've just tried the camera via the WT page & it doesn't look like it is on, sounds like (per Mary's post) that it was being tested yesterday. Ian

  • Sheila, Thanks for the new thread and
    Everyone, Thanks for your comments and for the pic, Scylla.
    Mike, I love Pine Martens but I love Ospreys more so I'm with you in understanding George's inclination to use the Pine Marten's hide should it be so bold as to attack the nest again (even though we all know George will do no such thing should the worst happen!).

    Kind regards, 


  • Thanks everyone for the updates :) Haha hope ya heard that Mr. or Mrs. Pine Marten ye don't want to become a sporran! Hoping Aila is a quick study & holds her ground if the Marten proves to be resourceful. It's a hard-knock life out there. Here's to a successful 2019 season!
    Love To Live & Live To Love
  • As we all know, it can sometimes be difficult to be 100% sure that the unringed bird landing on the nest is in fact one of the birds that we've been waiting anxiously for to return for the last 6 months ;) Following the Loch Arkaig nest definitely falls into this category as neither Louis or Aila are ringed. To try & make the ID process a little bit easier I've pulled together photographs of the 2 birds highlighting their various characteristics. The photographs are in albums in the Friends of Loch Arkaig facebook group, which your'e more than welcome to join.

    If facebook isn't your "bag" here are some of the pics.

    The 1st set are Louis followed by Aila