Visitors to one of Aberdeenshire’s most popular beaches have been warned to be vigilant around corpses of dead birds amid avian flu concerns.
The warning comes after 10 dead birds – mainly gannets – were found washed ashore on St Cyrus beach this morning.
A further nine, which appeared to be still alive, but sick and dying, were also discovered on Kinnaber beach near Montrose.
Staff at St Cyrus National Nature Reserve confirmed the findings have been reported to Defra and the Scottish SPCA for testing.
In a post on Facebook, they said: “We now have 10 dead birds washed ashore at St Cyrus NNR, mainly gannets.
“A further nine were also seen at Kinnaber beach this morning. Some are still alive and appear sick and dying.
“We have reported them to Defra for testing and live birds to the SSPCA. Please do not touch any dead birds or allow your dogs to go near them.
“A massive blow to the seabird population and to these majestic seabirds.”
Calls for ‘urgent’ plan to tackle bird flu outbreak
The increasing number of dead or dying seabirds across the country has now prompted calls from the RSPB for an “urgent” response plan to control the outbreak.
While Shetland has the highest numbers of reports so far, there has been a rise in people reporting sightings of dead seabirds lying on beaches all across Scotland.
Aberdeenshire is the latest following reports of widespread great skua deaths in Fair Isle, Orkney, the Western Isles, Handa, the Flannan Isles and St Kilda.
Residents and visitors have been advised that although avian flu poses very low risk to human health, they should avoid contact and keep their dogs away from the corpses.
Any findings of dead seabirds should be reported immediately to Defra on 03459 33 55 77.