Ospreys are one of our best known and best loved birds and the name Roy Dennis is not only synonymous with the successful return of the osprey to Scotland, but is also renowned for his international work with a variety of species. From the time he saw his first osprey, back in 1960, Roy has worked to help this magnificent raptor establish itself once more in a country where it had been hounded and persecuted to near-extinction over hundreds of years.
This book tells the story not only of the osprey, but of the osprey watcher, following the bird's fortunes in Scotland, seeing its numbers rise from that single pair in the 1950s to close to 200 pairs today. From a look at its history in Scotland and the rest of the UK including the bad old days of egg thieves and the shooting of birds as specimens, it moves to the present day, with satellite radios allowing us to follow the every move of the osprey on its migration to Africa and back.
Roy has pioneered the building of artificial nests for ospreys, which has been instrumental in increasing their numbers and range, as well as starting the first European trans-location taking chicks from their nests in the Highlands and releasing them at Rutland Water Nature Reserve in the Midlands. The book also covers the ecology of the osprey with many personal anecdotes and insights.
Diary entries give a more immediate feel to the chapters, and the worldwide distribution of ospreys is enlivened by that sense of immediacy. Roy's writings, at a time when no one knew whether or not his lifetime's work would succeed, add a unique sense of history to this very personal tale.
'...The book is stuffed full of photos and personal anecdotes, and it all makes for a highly readable account of one of our best-loved birds.' - Birds Illustrated 'So the book is part diary, part autobiography, part species account and part historical perspective. It is at all times fascinating and often very entertaining and we are also treated to excellent photographs and line drawings, maps and notes - a nicely considered mix... Its tale is a fascinating one entertainingly told by Roy Dennis. I guarantee anyone who even lightly dips their big toe into this book will learn something and I defy anyone to not find themselves immersing themselves in its rich storehouse and terrific gallery.' -Fatbirder '...his enthusiasm and single-mindedness and this exudes from him throughout this book. ...there are some outstanding pictures including ospreys taking fish and a close-up of an osprey's eyes that are so compelling. ...you can almost feel that you are there taking in the same experiences.' - Highland News 'He writes with first-hand knowledge gained from a lifetime's experience of working with ospreys in the wild, punctuating the text with excerpts from his diaries, giving the book an added dimension. ... Everything one could ever wish to know about these birds seems to be covered in this book.' - John Muir Trust Journal