The RSPB is inviting birdwatchers to take a walk on the wild side with a behind-the-scenes tour at a north-east nature reserve.
Experts from the conservation charity will lead a guided walk around areas of the Loch of Strathbeg which are normally out of bounds to the public.
Tonight’s event has been organised to promote a successful meadow restoration programme, and visitors will get the chance to get up close and personal with a team of Konik ponies use in the project.
RSPB Scotland’s site manager at Loch of Strathbeg, Richard Humpidge, said: “The fen meadow at the reserve had become dominated by soft rush. We have had Konik ponies for over four years now and they made a good start at removing the rushes and making room for smaller, more delicate flowering plants.”
The RSPB team at the site near Crimond has also been backed by the Save our Magnificent Meadows partnership initiative.
Mr Humpidge added: “I’m looking forward to showing visitors a part of the reserve they don’t normally see and all the beautiful wildflowers that are in bloom as well as chatting with them about this incredibly ambitious project.”
The north-east nature reserve is renowned for its migrating population of pink-footed geese. Each year tens of thousands of birds make a 500-mile trip from their Icelandic breeding grounds to the loch – a designated protection area.
In October, 64,655 birds were counted at the site – a nine-year high.
As many as 20,000 geese remained in the area to feed on neighbouring farmland in the spring and the RSPB encouraged families to flock to the area to watch them take flight each morning.
The largest dune loch in Britain is a surprisingly recent creation, formed in 1720 by a huge storm which hit the area. There are now almost 600 different species of birds, mammals and insects on the reserve.
The two-hour tour begins at 5pm tonight and is free. However places are limited and booking is essential.