Rare marsh harrier breeds at Kinnordy Loch nature reserve

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Marsh harriers have bred at RSPB Scotland’s Loch of Kinnordy nature reserve for the first time since records began.

After months of anticipation and close monitoring of a nest, staff and visitors were rewarded with the sight of the two juvenile birds gliding over the reed beds.

Although regular summer visitors to the Loch of Kinnordy, marsh harriers are rare with only 360 breeding females in the UK.

The adult birds were first spotted displaying over the loch in April and nest building began soon after.

Staff, not wishing to disturb the birds by checking the nest, closely observed their movements and behaviour from afar in order to determine if eggs had been laid.

RSPB Scotland Loch of Kinnordy Warden, Kim Ross, said: “The pair both displayed behaviour that suggested eggs had been laid, and chicks had hatched, such as the female bringing food directly back to the nest - something she would not do otherwise .”

The first juvenile was spotted on August 8 and the second on August 17.

Jon Cook, Angus and Dundee Local Bird Recorder for the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club said: “In recent years marsh harriers have become a regular sight at Loch of Kinnordy, and we all hoped that a pair would nest. It is superb that our hopes have been realised this year and fantastic to see the four birds hunting over the reeds.”

All four harriers can be seen easily from the three hides at the nature reserve. Hides are open daily from dawn until dusk. For more information please see www.rspb.org.uk