THE recolonisation of the osprey in Scotland has been a remarkable success story, and now a new chapter has been written with the birth of the 100th chick at Loch Garten, near Aviemore.
It is fitting that this milestone has been reached this summer, for 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the birds returning to country following their extinction in the early part of the last century.
This success has been hard fought and dearly won, with the need to be constantly proactive over the birds' safety. Unscrupulous egg collectors have been an ever-present threat. This is evidenced by the fact that, in the first 20 years of the programme, numbers had reached only 14 pairs. Happily, there are now between 200 and 250 breeding pairs in Britain.
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The ospreys have repaid the time and effort spent ensuring their wellbeing many times over. The RSPB's Osprey Centre at Loch Garten alone attracts more than 50,000 visitors a year. There are also centres in Perthshire, the Tweed Valley and Dumfriesshire.
While in 1954 this project might have been described by some as a flight of fancy, the value to Scotland of Pandion haliaetus can truly be said to have soared.