Rare bird excites ‘twitchers’

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The Trossachs is a part of Scotland noted for its wooded glens, braes, and lochs lying to the east of Ben Lomond. It’s an area of natural beauty that paves the way to the Highlands.

Outside of lockdown, tourists from all over the world flock to the area. And it’s little wonder why, such is the magic of this Scottish idyl.

In recent weeks, birdwatchers have been inundating the Scottish Tourist Board and hotels in the area, seeking to book accommodation in picturesque places like Balloch, Callander and Doune. 

The source of the surge in interest is a result of the rarest of British birds – the Ardlui Humming Bird – being spotted in the area.

‘There have been a number of sightings in recent days that has got the bird watching community particularly excited,’ commented spokesman Olli Farop. ‘It is a beautiful bird, one of the rarest. So it’s little wonder there is such excitement.

‘Now we are coming out of lockdown, we are hopeful the influx of people from all over the world will be a real shot in the arm for the country – albeit they only have a fleeting moment to see it before it retires to raise its brood of youngsters.’

Tender voice

Known as the Kinlochkilkerran until the start of the 19th century, there are less than 20 known breeding pairs of the Ardlui Humming Bird in existence. According to folklore they are less numerous than the Goldcrest and have a voice more tender than that of a Nightingale.

Archie McTaggart, an amateur birdwatcher from Fort William, has been lucky to see and hear the bird on three occasions.

‘Och, I was a wee laddie when I first heard its wondrous melodies,’ the 72-year-old told Sorted. ‘I also managed to see it for a fleeting moment, but didn’t appreciate just what I was hearing and witnessing.

‘It was only in later years I realised how lucky I had been. As a result, I became a bird watcher, and I have been blessed to see the bird on two further occasions. I am hoping this year, I will see it one more time.’

To stand a chance of seeing the Ardlui Humming Bird, you had better be quick about it. Its breeding season finishes on 4 April.

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