It's been a text-book start to the osprey breeding season at the RSPB Scotland Loch Garten Osprey Centre, with the regular pairing of EJ and Odin settling down to domestic life and producing three eggs, much to the delight of staff and visitors at the world-famous site.
However, osprey followers around the world can only look on in admiration (tinged with horror!), as the live webcam images from the nest show EJ conscientiously incubating her eggs in the midst of persistent and heavy snow.
Julie Quirie, Retail Manager at the Loch Garten Osprey Centre shop, said: "I've worked at the centre for ten years and I just can't remember the snow ever being so bad! Poor old EJ does look pretty miserable in her snow doughnut, as we like to call it, but this is her fifteenth season here at Loch Garten and she's well used to the worst of Scottish spring weather. And it's really not as bad as it seems - snow is a good insulator, so as long as this snow snap doesn't persist, EJ and her eggs should be fine. It still looks really uncomfortable to us though!"
"It just shows how ospreys are well adapted to their environment - they're able to cope with soaring temperatures in West Africa when they're on migration as well as the vagaries of the Scottish Highlands in spring and summer. All being well, EJ and Odin should be proud parents by the middle of May, when hopefully the skies will be blue and the temperature rising."
Hopes are high that 2017 will see Loch Garten's most successful osprey pair add to their tally of 17 chicks fledged together from the nest.
Loch Garten is famous as being the home of the UK's breeding ospreys since the 1950s and was where they first returned after becoming extinct as a breeding species in the early twentieth century. RSPB Scotland has been protecting ospreys at Loch Garten since 1958 and from that initial Loch Garten pair, ospreys are now to be found in England and Wales.
The Loch Garten Osprey Centre is open daily from 10am - 6pm (last entry at 5pm) for live viewing of the osprey nest, plus close-up CCTV images. There is also the chance to see red squirrels and many different woodland birds visiting the feeders, and activities for families to share the fun side of nature.