Two osprey chicks at Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve (Scottish Wildlife Trust)
A second osprey chick has hatched at a Scottish reserve, helping to secure the future of a species which was once extinct in Britain.
A crack was spotted on an egg at a nest in Loch of the Lowes Wildlife Reserve in Perthshire at 12.33pm on Friday and at 3.24am the next day the chick emerged.
The first osprey chick of the season hatched on Thursday.
Sara Rasmussen, Perthshire ranger at the Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “We’re thrilled that the second egg has hatched and we’re hoping to see a third chick by Monday. It will be fascinating to watch these young birds grow and develop.”
Osprey numbers have been steadily improving in Britain (PA)PA Archive/PA Images - Andrew Milligan
The chicks will grow rapidly and are dependent on regular deliveries of fish brought to the nest by male osprey LM12, and fed to them by female osprey NC0.
For much of the 20th century ospreys were extinct in Britain until numbers began to recover in the 1960s.
Around 300 pairs now breed in the UK each summer with most migrating to west Africa, although some spend their winter in Spain and Portugal.
Historically, ospreys were killed because they were seen as a threat to fish stocks used for food, and were considered vermin because they ate trout and salmon.
Alongside agriculture and pollution destroying nesting sites, the historic hobbies of specimen collecting, taxidermy and egg collection, greatly reduced breeding success.
After a slow start, there has been a steady increase in osprey breeding success in the UK, from two pairs in 1967, 150 pairs in 2000, and around double that today.