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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 March, 2004, 16:05 GMT
Landmark return for bird of prey
Osprey coming in to land
The bird returned to a nest used last year
The first osprey of the season has returned to nest in Scotland for the 50th year since the birds' reintroduction north of the border.

The osprey was spotted at the Scottish Wildlife Trust's Loch of the Lowes reserve near Dunkeld.

The osprey was seen on Tuesday morning sitting on the same nest as last year.

Observations to try to identify the individual bird from its markings will take place over the next few days but it is believed to be a female.

If confirmed as the same bird that used the site last year, it will be her 14th breeding season and she will now be at least 15 or 16 years old.

Pete Fearns, a former volunteer with the SWT, spotted the osprey's return.

He said: "The arrival of the osprey this year has a special significance as 2004 is the 50th anniversary of the return of the osprey to Scotland, following its extinction in Scotland in 1916.

Osprey in a nest
Scotland has about 130 mating pairs
"SWT is working with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Forestry Commission Scotland and the Scottish Raptor Study Groups to celebrate this milestone in the history of the species' reintegration into our wildlife, which has only been possible thanks to the combined efforts of so many organisations and individuals across Scotland over the years."

Live webcam pictures of the bird can be seen on monitors at the visitor centre and will shortly be available on the SWT website.

The sighting was confirmed as the first in Scotland this year by Birdline Scotland.

Last year's return of the female was accompanied by controversy when she mated with an interloper who appeared just before the arrival of her usual partner.

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