Rare raptor stalks the skies over Loch of Strathbeg

A rare bird of prey was spotted in the sky over the RSPB Loch of Strathbeg reserve this week. The black kite- a close relative of the recently re-introduced red kite- has been flying over the reserve for the past two days.

The bird was first seen on Sunday, May 8, during the annual “Big Sit”- an event that challenges birders to see the greatest number of species from a single spot in a whole day.

Marcus Workman, a residential volunteer from Wigan working at the nature reserve was one of the first people to get close-up views of the bird as it flew past the visitor centre.

“It was a fantastic sight. I’ve never even seen a black kite before, and to see one this close was amazing.

“I’m only staying at Strathbeg for two weeks and I can’t believe I was this lucky.”

The black kite has a five foot (1.5 metre) wingspan and, like its red kite cousins largely lives on carrion. The nearest breeding population of black kite is in France but occasional birds are seen in the UK.

This is only the fourth ever record for the Loch of Strathbeg nature reserve.

Site Manager Dominic Funnell said “This is the second record of black kite for the reserve in two years.

“We’ve already had some great birds on the reserve this year including crane and spoonbill, and this black kite just proves that Loch of Strathbeg is one of the very best sites in Scotland for attracting migrant birds.”

RSPB Loch of Strathbeg is near Crimond village, off the A90 between Fraserburgh and Peterhead.