South Scotland

Tweed valley osprey chicks 'first in Scotland' for 2011

Osprey chicks
Image caption One osprey chick was spotted on Sunday with a second one following soon after at the site in the Tweed Valley

Conservationists are celebrating the hatching of what are thought to be the first Scots osprey chicks this year.

The first bird was spotted in the Tweed Valley Osprey Watch nest on Sunday and a second chick seen later.

The parents have been using the nest since 2004 and have raised 17 chicks between them.

An osprey chick has already been born in Wales but it is thought these could be the first ones north of the border for 2011.

It is not known how many eggs there are in the Borders site this year as staff at the CCTV observation centre at Kailzie Gardens, near Peebles, are unable to see over the edge of the nest.

Osprey information officer Diane Bennett said: "This is really exciting news for us all and a nice surprise.

"We can't actually see how many eggs there are this year because the birds have built up the nest so high, possibly because they lost an egg last year."

'Very early'

She added: "Hopefully, if other eggs hatch, the parents will start to stand around the nest's edges to feed them so the border will get flattened and we'll all get to see better.

"These are thought to be the first Scottish chicks this year - we are very, very early in the season."

The male osprey in the pair is from Aberfoyle originally and is 12 years old, while the female's age is unknown as she has not been ringed.

They usually produce two or three eggs.

The Tweed Valley Osprey Project is a partnership between Forestry Commission Scotland, Kailzie Gardens and RSPB Scotland.

It allows the public to enjoy seeing the ospreys through two viewing centres.

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