Work on a £300,000 revamp of a north-east wildlife attraction begins today.
Loch of Strathbeg near Crimmond is regarded as one of the region’s finest nature reserves – and now efforts are underway to deliver a new roof for the visitor centre, as well as toilets and a new office.
The improvements, which are being made by local firm Anderson Construction, are expected to be complete by March next year.
The development also includes a major overhaul of the reserve’s volunteer accommodation which can be home to up to 25 people each year.
Richard Humpidge, site manager at RSPB Scotland Loch of Strathbeg, said the team was “really excited” to get going.
“The upgrades to the visitor facilities will help promote the area’s outstanding potential for wildlife tourism, while improvements to the volunteer house will more than double the accommodation space available,” he said.
“Our passionate volunteers and interns are an important part of the team that helps look after this wonderful nature reserve and the wildlife that lives here.”
Mr Humpidge added that with autumn a popular time for visitors, “every possible effort” will be made to minimise disruption.
The work has been funded by the Coastal Communities Fund, with support from Friends of Strathbeg and the local RSPB group.
Loch of Strathbeg is the UK’s largest dune loch and welcomes more than 560 species of wildlife found there.
In autumn and winter, it is home to thousands of wild geese, swans and ducks, including up to 20% of the world’s population of pink-footed geese.