The oldest breeding osprey ever recorded in the UK has laid the 62nd egg of her lifetime.
The record breaking osprey, named Lady, at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Loch of the Lowes reserve near Dunkeld in Perthshire has been returning to the area for an incredible 22 years.
The egg was spotted in the nest on Saturday evening by staff and volunteers monitoring the nest camera.
Last week, staff and volunteers were puzzled when the female showed all the tell-tale signs of egg laying, before rapidly changing her behaviour and acting as if there was no egg at all. It is believed this was either a "phantom egg", similar to a phantom pregnancy in mammals, or the egg was damaged or destroyed.
The female osprey and her mate are now incubating Saturday’s egg, which will happen for 5-6 weeks before it hatches. If this happens, they will be the first chicks born at Loch of the Lowes since 2010 as last year the eggs failed, despite being proved fertile.
Scottish Wildlife Trust Perthshire Ranger Emma Rawling said: “After a mystery on the nest last week I’m so relieved that we can confirm there definitely is an egg in the nest now.
“Our 24 hour nest protection now becomes even more important; we will be monitoring the nest for as long as the ospreys are here and we hope we’ll see young hatch in a few weeks time.
“We’re still learning so much about osprey behaviour. Having the camera in the nest and so many osprey experts around Loch of the Lowes at the moment makes this time of year incredibly exciting.
“This osprey in particular just keeps surprising us. She still seems committed to breeding even at her advanced age. I’m sure that her fans watching on the webcam across the world will be keeping their fingers crossed that these eggs hatch very soon.”