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article imageScotland: Rare Highland birds in focus for new Conservation Week

By Robert Myles     May 1, 2013 in Travel
Findhorn - Scottish conservation charity Trees for Life, engaged in a long term project restoring the ancient Caledonian pine forest, has announced a new conservation week with the focus on iconic and rare birds of the Scottish Highlands.
Leading Scottish conservation charity Trees for Life is primarily engaged in projects to restore the ancient Scots Caledonian Pine Forest but conservation and re-introduction of Scotland’s native species of fauna also feature high on the charity’s agenda. Since Trees for Life planted its first trees in 1991 in Glen Affric, west of Loch Ness, deep on the Scottish Highlands, the charity, helped by many volunteers, has planted over one million trees as well as and creating 10,000 acres (over 4000 hectares) of new Caledonian Forest.
The new conservation week is scheduled to run from 25 May to 1 June 2013 and offers the opportunity to see and learn about some of the Scottish Highlands’ magnificent and rare bird species as well as participating in some hands-on habitat restoration work.
Amongst the week’s highlights will be a day trip to the Isle of Skye to view white-tailed eagles, the UK’s largest bird of prey, in their natural habitat as well as learning more about the programme that has successfully reintroduced these stunning birds to Scotland’s west and east coasts.
World-famous bird expert Roy Dennis with a satellite-tracked osprey  Boat of Garten  Scotland  UK.
World-famous bird expert Roy Dennis with a satellite-tracked osprey, Boat of Garten, Scotland, UK.
Roy Dennis - By Permission Trees for Life
Back on the Scottish mainland, world-famous ornithologist and raptor expert Roy Dennis, who has been heavily involved for many years in the conservation of rare birds and the reintroduction of lost species will lead a guided walk at the biodiversity hotspot of Dundreggan near Loch Ness, and will discuss his pioneering osprey and sea eagle projects.
The most celebrated spot for viewing ospreys in Scotland is Loch Garten and as part of the Trees for Life Conservation Week, participants will be able to take advantage of close-up views of nesting ospreys. In addition, a day's birding with a local expert offers the chance to spot species such as Scottish crossbills and crested tits.
Other events planned include, an early morning trip to The Royal Society for the Protection of Bird’s (RSPB) Corrimony Nature Reserve near Glen Affric to see a spectacular black grouse lek, while a warden from RSPB Corrimony will offer insights into capercaillie and black grouse management.
Commenting on the upcoming Trees for Life Conservation Week, Alan Watson Featherstone, Trees for Life’s Executive Director, said: “The week offers people the chance to see and learn more about the world-class birdlife that inhabits the Highlands, while taking direct conservation action to help restore the habitats of these remarkable species. It will be an inspiring and positive way to spend a week during the Year of Natural Scotland.”
Later this year, in September, Trees for Life will also run two Conservation Weeks at Corrimony, where the charity is working with the RSPB to restore Caledonian Forest and wetland to an area of former conifer plantation. Trees for Life activities here are benefitting a wide range of native birds and other wildlife as well as providing opportunities to observe rare birds in their natural setting.
Trees for Life’s award-winning Conservation Weeks allow people from varied backgrounds, abilities and experience to help restore the Caledonian Forest to a spectacular wilderness region of 1,000 square miles in the Highlands to the west of Loch Ness and Inverness. Volunteers must be aged over 18 years old and have reasonable fitness. For the less able, weeks in the charity’s tree nursery offer a gentler option. Further details of the Trees for Life ‘Iconic Birds of the Highlands’ Conservation Week can be found on the Trees for Life website.
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