OSPREYS carry more than the weight of a fish supper in their steely talons.
Generations of conservationists have had their hopes held firm and fast by these modern-day phoenixes with their story of resurrection from the flames of persecution and blind hatred.
Like many hook-billed, broadwinged birds of prey, ospreys were anathema to the huntin’ and shootin’ set who cursed their immaculate fish-catching skills in waters reserved for rods and flies.
As brave men were falling on the pock-marked landscape of the Somme, so did the fortunes of the osprey on British soil.
With bounties placed on the osprey’s head by country estates, along with further harrying by egg robbers and skin collectors, the fish-hawk ceased nesting on our shores in 1916.
An exciting new project has seen eight osprey chicks making their maiden flights over the harbour’s waters in recent days
Its renaissance some 40 years later, culminating with the arrival of three chicks at Loch Garten in 1959 under the watch of the RSPB, is hailed as one of the great conservation success stories of the age.
Since then, the osprey’s fortunes have been as buoyant as its flight.
Tens of thousands of bird lovers have paid homage in pilgrimages to the Highlands as the number of nests have risen to treble figures.