Friends of Strathbeg Update!

Since handing over £20,000 in 2007, doubled to £40,000 by Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Loch of Strathbeg has changed beyond all recognition. Spend a day exploring at Starnafin and the 3 hides bolting on a walk to The Ron lighthouse off Rattray Head.

Thanks to loyal support of many NEMT members, and members of SWT, SOC, NTS, RSPB, RSGS, Cairngorm Club and Saltire Society, and many individual supporters, our funds are climbing back up again. Hopefully by the time RSPB present their next Grant Application, which will probably involve de-silting the loch, we’ll be able to repeat our previous donation. So please go out your way to chose Friends of Strathbeg when buying your bird food and nest boxes!

On the subject of Nest Boxes here are a few tips:

  1. Always buy thick boxes - too thin and the chicks will "cook"!
  2. Like bird feeders, avoid locating boxes in the open. Predators lie in wait for birds crossing open spaces especially juicy young fledglings!
  3. Unless shielded by buildings or trees, boxes should ideally face generally northwards to avoid the relentless rays of the midday sun - dream on!
  4. Parasites are a serious problem the effects are not dissimilar to humans being scalded. Boxes ought to be cleaned thoroughly after the breeding season preferably using boiling water.
  5. The best time to erect boxes is in the early spring (Feb/Mar) but boxes erected in June have been known to be occupied within 2 hours!
  6. Ideally boxes need to be high enough to be out of reach of cats reportedly responsible for 55 million bird deaths each year. Netting or branches suitably positioned can be successful deterrents.
  7. If Grey Squirrels are regular visitors, metal nest plates are essential. The Grampian Red Squirrel Conservation Officer would also like to know if greys are in your area - recording cards are available from us.

Editor's Note: For readers questioning why this is appearing in Mountain Views (yes, there will be some!) Bill Craigie, who has written it for us does an excellent job in co-ordinating the evening NEMT RSPB, Saltire, SWT etc lectures on what we call "The Craigie List" and yes, you;ll find his Bird Food List on the back. He is also a good source of second hand mountaineering books!

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