A missing osprey chick has been reunited with its parents after a frantic four-day search.
The eight-week old bird took his first flight at the Loch of Lowes near Dunkeld on Monday but failed to return to the nest.
As he is microchipped, he could be tracked to a certain area, but staff were unable to get a clear visual of him.
Not knowing if he was feeding, there was concern he could be found dead, but he flew back to the nest earlier today, safe and sound.
Jonathan Pinnick, 27, works at the Loch of Lowes centre and is glad the story has a happy ending after such a stressful week.
“The chick returned at 11.30am. Another hour and he would have been missing for exactly four days. I don’t know of any other osprey that has taken its first flight and disappeared.
“His mum was in tow when he returned to the nest and you could tell she wasn’t happy with him. He got quite a scolding. He was knocked on the head by her and pecked for five or 10 minutes before she left him alone.
Pinnick added that the local volunteers were vital to the search.
“We had up to 12 people out at a time looking for him,” he said. “We are lucky we have a big team of volunteers as we couldn’t have done it without them. So we want to say thanks to them, as well as the general public for their amazing response.
“The osprey family have had a huge following of people, to the extent we couldn’t cope with the calls of concern we were getting to the centre.”
Staff suspected the chick’s parents were taking fish to him, and luckily, that intuition turned out to be right on the money.
“He’s too young to feed himself so his parents must have been doing it for him,” Pinnick said.
“The chick will be leaving in about a month’s time for Africa so the next few weeks are for him to get more adept at flying and hunting because once he leaves, he’ll be on his own.”
The chick’s mother is famous osprey Lady, the oldest known breeding osprey in the UK. She is 27, twice their average life expectancy.
Female ospreys normally produce about 20 chicks in a lifetime. Lady has produced 61 eggs and this is her 49th chick to fledge.
Pinnick added: “It would be great to have more eggs from Lady. This is her 49th chick so to reach 50 would be incredible.
He fairly put his parents through the wringer so I don’t know if I feel sorrier for us or them.”