Ospreys a-plenty!

It was a fine evening for a walk at Burleigh Sands on Thursday night for our annual Osprey Walk.  A small group of us were treated to a phenomenal number of Ospreys as they patrolled the water.  A total of 15 were seen during the course of the two hour walk- more than I’ve ever seen at one location- even in their wintering grounds in West Africa!  August is a good time to look for Ospreys at Loch Leven.

Unmistakable silhouette!

Unmistakable silhouette!

Osprey - Lorne Gill (SNH)

Osprey – Lorne Gill (SNH)

There are thought to be as many as 250 breeding pairs in Scotland now, which suggests more nest sites than many people realise.  Although there are no nests on the reserve, it is clear that there are a few locally, and as a large, shallow water body, the loch is an ideal place for young Ospreys to learn the art of fishing before their long migration south.  The females are likely to have set off by now, having done their parenting during the early stages of development, incubating the eggs and nurturing the young nestlings.  The males will have been working tirelessly to keep their families fed, with clutches of three young requiring as many as 6 or 7 fish to be caught per day.

Osprey fishing

Osprey fishing

With the young now fledged, it is down to the males to demonstrate the skills required to catch fish, and this is why large numbers of Ospreys can be seen this month- juveniles watching and learning from their fathers.



The walk was enhanced further still by the appearance of a pair of Kingfisher darting over the water in front of Burleigh hide, while Common Sandpipers and Grey Herons went about their business on the sand spit at the mouth of the North Quiech, and Goldeneye were spotted bobbing about on the loch, having been absent for most of the summer months.

Grey Herons

Grey Herons

To cap it off, a Red Squirrel was even present in the Scots Pine trees at Burleigh Sands feeding on cones above one of the participant’s cars!

A thoroughly enjoyable evening- and a first sight of Ospreys for two of our group.  If you’d like to see some of the action then you’d better get looking, because it won’t be long before they’re off for another year.

The following morning I was lucky enough to capture this brood of Coots near the Pier as I was heading out to St Serfs, with more Ospreys again over the loch.




About Craig.Nisbet

Reserve Officer Loch Leven National Nature Reserve Scottish Natural Heritage
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