A new red kite nest, containing two healthy chicks, was discovered by a trainee gamekeeper on moorland in Glen Esk.
Red kites have been steadily climbing in numbers in Scotland, since they were reintroduced in the 1980s from the Black Isle. The estate contacted the RSPB, to ensure the kites were ringed and tagged. Apparently, the kite have been collecting items of discarded clothing from a nearby swimming spot to line the nest; socks and underwear were found at the site, in the surrounding trees, and tucked into the nest itself. Dave Clement, head keeper at the Grannochy Estate and member of the Angus Glens Moorland Group was very surprised: “It was like the kites were cleaning up the glen!”
Kite are not the only birds of prey to successfully nest in Glen Esk – the estate moors have been attracting a lot of attention from conservation groups for providing a good habitat for eagles and merlin, the smallest bird of prey found in Britain.
Raptor study group officials managed to ring a newly discovered eaglet on the Invermark Estate, home to two pairs of golden eagles. Head keeper Garry MacLennan said: “We actively manage the estate’s deer forest and grouse moor for sporting interests. By controlling the numbers of certain species, that helps the rarer species on the moors. In doing so, we have always had eagles. Looking after the heather helps provide a habitat which benefits lots of the species that are dependent on it. Last year, we actually had three eaglets from the one nest which is very rare, an abundance of white hares probably helped. This is part of what the estate has in terms of wildlife. There are always merlin and peregrine nests, too, and people understand what is done in terms of the biodiversity of the place.”