A keen-eyed north-east woman has spotted a very rare crane in rural Aberdeenshire – twice in a week.
Gillian Fowlie, from Crimond, saw the large bird in a field between her home village and Mintlaw a few days ago, but was not able to stop to take a picture.
Instead, she snapped it yesterday after seeing it for a second time.
According to the RSPB website, there are only seven breeding pairs of common cranes in Scotland, all of which are concentrated in the north-east.
Gillian said: “I didn’t realise there were any in the UK until my friend told me.
“A friend said she saw one close Peterhead a few weeks ago, so I’ve been looking out a little more.”
She added: “I think she was out hacking with her horse when she spotted her one.
“But we both do country sports, shooting and hunting, so we know how important looking after the countryside is.”
Cranes were first recorded breeding in Aberdeenshire as recently as 2012 after going extinct in the UK 400 years ago.
They are the tallest birds found anywhere in the country, standing at 4ft tall, and are well-known for their dancing displays.
The seven pairs recorded last year is a Scottish record, which the RSPB credits to the restoration of their peatland habitat.
A press release from the bird charity in February this year says “Scotland’s breeding cranes might be on the cusp of a large increase” thanks to environmental schemes.