The return of ospreys to Scotland is one of the outstanding conservation good news stories in the UK. Since the first pair returned to breed at Loch Garten 50 years ago, ospreys have become an established part of the spring and summer scenery.
Young ospreys need to eat a lot of fish to build the strength to survive the long migration to Africa. During this critical summer period, the male adults must feed both the chicks and their mothers.
The Rothiemurchus estate actively encourages the birds to fish at the lochs around the estate fish farm near Aviemore. This helps ensure the young birds always have enough to eat, even when fishing is difficult at other locations.
A purpose built photography hide on a purpose built osprey pond at the Rothiemurchus Fishery is an excellent place to get spectacular shots of osprey fishing at close quarters.
The hides are situated right on the water’s edge so no matter where an osprey dives, it will be in view of the camera lens. With this in mind, you probably won’t need anything bigger than a 70-200mm lens. The pond is stocked with fish that are the correct size for osprey, providing an even stronger lure for them when they fly over the ponds.
While we were in Scotland, we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to observe them at another location where fish is nailed to the perch, meaning that the osprey stays to eat the fish, rather than take it back to the nest.
This was a wonderful opportunity to get some perched shots and also meant that we got more than just a fleeting glance of these amazing birds.
Whilst the diving shots are dramatic, I personally prefer the perched shots where you get to see their talons and the wonderful detail in their plumage.