A SOFTLY, softly approach to a spring clean for a popular Easter Ross nesting area ensured the job got done with minimum disruption to our feathered friends.
It was the latest in a series of hands-on efforts by Friends of Alness Point, who have previously cleared skip loads of waste from the recreational area.
Lauren Wilson of the Highland Dogblog group organised the "secret mission" with the help of the Cromarty Firth Fishery Board and Trust. "We spent time clearing out floating plastic and four massive tyres from the wetland area of Alness Point," she said. "We wanted to make it a small, quiet affair so as not to disturb the nesting birds and chicks."
To help them achieve their mission with minimal disturbance to nesting birds, the Highland branch of the RSPB provided them with information and support, Phil Dowling, RSPB assistant conservation officer, says there is a wonderful array of birds that use the area to nest, feed and rest during migration.
"The main breeding bird season is between April and May and the wetlands fall in the Cromarty Firth protection area," he said. In summer you can see Arctic Terns which have the longest migration any bird and like stony shore areas.
Redwings and mallards may also be using the area to breed and ospreys can be spotted hunting in the area.
"Terns can be quite feisty and they will peck your head so it was also good to make sure they weren’t near them," he said. "Basically they have done a lot of good for the area and that will benefit all the birds."
Over the last few months Friends of Alness Point group have rallied crowds of more than 30 people to clean up skip-loads of refuse from the Alness Point and they will continue keeping the area tidy and monitoring for more rubbish.