Endangered birds have begun to return to an Aberdeenshire peatland following restoration work.
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) has been working to restore the 130-hectare site at Gow Moss, near Fochabers, its largest project in the north-east so far.
A carpet of bog cotton has been established – and threatened species of bird, such as lapwings and curlews, have been spotted.
FLS environment ranger Alan Campbell said: “The restoration of open, boggy habitats has been a while in the planning so seeing the amazing carpet of bog cotton and the surge in bird numbers – especially the waders – is a great reward for all that hard work.
“The timely boost for these species makes Gowmoss a really special, tranquil place to be on calm, spring and summer evenings. It’s quite amazing to just sit and listen to the evocative calls of the peewits and curlews, which give you a real sense that nature is returning here.”
FLS’s east region environment advisor, Philippa Murphy, added: “It has been really heartening to see the transformation at Gowmoss, after only a couple of years of working on the site. The return of sphagnum mosses and the white of the bog cotton is a really striking, positive sign.
“Gowmoss is a really important site for us in the north east of Scotland and it’s not only the bird species that are benefitting.
“Restoring peatland improves water quality and the restored bog can actually contribute towards natural flood management, by reducing the outflow peak at certain times, particularly after heavy downpours following dry periods, which is important for the local area.”