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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March, 2004, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Osprey couple finally settle down
Osprey coming in to land
Bird experts hope there will be offspring
A pair of amorous ospreys have begun homemaking in a Highland retreat 50 years after the species returned to Scotland.

In a show of affection, the male has delivered fish to his partner at their nest in Loch Garten, by RSPB Scotland's Abernethy reserve.

She arrived back in Strathspey from West Africa late last week, having spent last summer as a singleton.

Richard Thaxton of RSPB Scotland said they may start to lay eggs in April.

He said: "This is a great start to the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the return of ospreys to Scotland.

"We are very hopeful this pair will settle down, lay eggs and rear young in this golden jubilee year. If all goes well, eggs should be laid by mid-April."

Ospreys were wiped from Scottish skies in the Victorian era through human persecution but came back in 1954.

There are now 160 breeding pairs north of the border and it is hoped the latest couple at Loch Garten can help keep the population growing.

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