29 March 2024

Lockdown star Louis the osprey returns early to nest

29 March 2024

An osprey which became an online star during the first lockdown has surprised fans by returning to his nest early this year.

Louis touched down at his nest at Loch Arkaig in the Highlands at 3.18pm on Thursday, with his arrival captured on livestream.

His return marks his eighth nesting season at the site, at which he has arrived between April 2 and April 11 in previous years.

It is hoped he will soon be joined by his mate Dorcha, who normally returns between around April 9 and April 11.

What a thrill to see Louis back at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest for season eight of this remarkable wild soap opera

Woodland Trust Scotland has been operating a live nest camera at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest in Lochaber since 2017 and it became a hit during the first lockdown, clocking up 400,000 views worldwide in 2020.

George Anderson, of Woodland Trust Scotland, said: “Louis has caught us all on the hop.

“I reckon some people’s holiday weekend plans are now up in the air as they will be glued to their screens.”

Woodland Trust Scotland and Arkaig Community Forest bought the woodland site in 2016 from Forest Enterprise Scotland under the national forest land scheme.

Their aim is to restore native woodland habitats, reconnect local people with the management and stewardship of the site, and use the woods to underpin sustainable rural development in the nearby communities of Achnacarry, Bunarkaig and Clunes.

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

Laura Chow, head of charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “What a thrill to see Louis back at Loch Arkaig Pine Forest for season eight of this remarkable wild soap opera. Here’s hoping for another glorious summer of action from the nest.

“We are delighted that support from our players allows people far and wide to enjoy this wild slice of Highland forest life for so many years.”

Huge amounts of non-native timber are being removed from the forest in order to let the native pines repopulate the site with their offspring.

A unique modular barge has been transporting logs across the loch over the winter.

The trust said it is one of the most significant areas of remaining Caledonian pine forest and that this will be the largest ancient woodland restoration undertaken by the Woodland Trust on land directly under its care.

The livecam can be viewed at https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/osprey-cam/

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