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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 June 2007, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Osprey soap opera: The story so far
It's the soap opera with wings, talons and wet fish.

Staff and hundreds of visitors to the Loch Garten Osprey Centre have been both horrified and enthralled by the twists of this year's breeding season.

The feathered stars of the drama are Henry, his long-time mate EJ and older rogue male VS.

Here's the story so far of the raptors from when they returned to the site from their winter hideaway 3,000 miles (4,828km) away.

LOVE NEST

Loch Garten osprey. Picture by Chris Gomersall/RSPB Images

It is late April when Henry arrives at Loch Garten, near Aviemore, at the end of a marathon journey from west Africa.

There are ruffled feathers when he finds EJ incubating the eggs of his arch-rival VS.

A BAD EGG

An osprey - generic

RSPB staff are concerned about EJ's choice of mate. VS is known to be something of a rogue, having disrupted breeding at the site in the past.

Henry - EJ's regular mate - has always been the favoured male as he is attentive and can be relied on to bring home the fish for the female and their chicks.

AIR RAGE

Osprey on the nest at Loch Garten. Picture courtesy of RSPB Scotland

Observers and staff at the reserve watch in disbelief as Henry kicks his rival's clutch of eggs from the nest.

His actions deliver a terrible blow to hopes of a successful breeding season for the Loch Garten birds.

NEW HOPE

Osprey on Loch Garten nest. Picture courtesy of RSPB Scotland

Early May and there is good news when the reserve reports that EJ has laid three new eggs fathered by Henry.

The last time this happened at the site was 25 years ago.

CHICKS HATCH

Osprey on nest. Picture courtesy of RSPB Scotland

It is now mid June and the first of three chicks hatches, much to the delight of the reserve staff at Loch Garten.

The other two are expected to appear over the next few days and, provided there is enough food, they should all survive.

The saga continues...




SEE ALSO
Staff ecstatic as chick hatches
14 Jun 07 |  Highlands and Islands

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