A pair of ospreys have made the return trip from Africa to Alyth to start breeding on a nesting platform erected for them by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN).
Ospreys are believed to have nested at the Angus site for close to 30 years, and until recently, were nesting on the top of one of SSEN’s electricity towers.
In March 2014, SSEN erected a 25-metre tall platform along with two 8.5 metre tall perching posts under the guidance of osprey expert Roy Dennis MBE from the Highland Foundation for Wildlife and in consultation with Scottish Natural Heritage and Perth & Kinross Council.
This ‘re-nesting’ was undertaken to allow for future development of a substation at the site and will also allow for overhead line works on that tower to be carried out this summer without the risk of disrupting their nest when it is in use.
The ospreys were given a choice in 2014 of their original nest, which was left in place on SSEN’s transmission tower, or the newly created nesting platform. Much to the surprise and delight of the project team, the ospreys ignored their old nest and went straight to the purpose built platform and bred successfully! The old nest was removed the following winter.
Keith Thomson, Lead Environmental Project Manager, SSEN stated: “This is an excellent example of the type of sustainable development undertaken by SSEN across our projects, demonstrating a high level of care for the natural environment through working with local communities and stakeholders. The mitigation works have been a great success at Alyth and show how environmental impacts can be minimised. It is great to see that the ospreys continue to return and utilise the purpose built nest while allowing critical works to be safely undertaken on the transmission network. ”
It is believed that ospreys have used the platform every year since it was erected. SSEN has decided to formally monitor the platform during the breeding season this year to demonstrate its ongoing success.
Ospreys normally nest in large mature trees. This iconic species feeds almost entirely on fish which they capture in a spectacular fashion by swooping down and snatching them from near the surface in their talons. Ospreys are migratory with the majority spending their winter in West Africa (although a small number of ospreys spend their winter in Iberia).
The platform is visible from public roads nearby but watchers are advised not to approach the platform in order to minimise the risk of them disturbing the ospreys. It is an offence to disturb an osprey whilst it is building a nest or is in, on, or near a nest containing eggs or young and it is also an offence to disturb their dependent young.
SSEN has previously published a video about the construction of the platform: to learn more about the work, click here.