• We’re Back! May not be Bigger but Definitely Better

    First of all I must apologise for not put anything up here for ages.  Our website was migrated to a new server at the same time as a new layout and the Tollie blog page was one of the things that went AWOL, we recovered the page a while ago but have only just now recovered the old content, so it would be remiss of me not to post a new blog now that everything is back to normal.

    2016, has been a great year at Tollie…

    • 10 Nov 2016
  • A Reflection on 2014

    As expected, 2014 got off to a good start at Tollie with the number of red kites coming in to feed reaching double figures, along with the usual mob of buzzards, crows and gulls.  As spring developed, we started to see bonding activities as the resident kites at Tollie started to reaffirm their pair bonds- this activity was going along nicely, with sticks being delivered to nest sites. 

    'Chase me!'  Pair bonding…

    • 16 Dec 2014
  • An Appeal for the Living – Help us Find our Lost Kites

    Red kites and Buzzards in the north of Scotland have been in the news quite a bit this year with the poisoning incident that happened in the spring; see the previous blog for details.

    This sort of thing is not the only hazard that a kite faces during its life.  To this end we have a monitoring process where kites are observed so the locations of nest and roost sites can be identified and regularly checked, bird numbers…

    • 13 Nov 2014
  • The Spring of Awakening

    I was ignorant. That was my first mistake.

    Don’t get me wrong- I consider myself to be a nice person and constantly strive to say the right things and do my best at all times, trying my hardest to generally be a decent member of society. I’m sure I speak for most people when I say this... We all want to be good and do good things, don’t we? That was my second mistake. I assumed that everyone thought like me. I was…

    • 27 Jun 2014
  • A Highland Spring at Tollie


    Oh, the joys of a Highland Spring. Frosty mornings, sunshine, wildfires, drought....and snow! Yes, wildfires and snow, all in one week.  And what a difference a week makes! Last Sunday at Tollie it was a winter wonderland, snowing heavily and bitterly cold, and all the birds had – quite rightly- fluffed up their feathers and stayed in some form of shelter in their half-built nests or under a cozy spruce, far far away…

    • 16 Apr 2013
  • 2012 A Good Year

    The last year at Tollie has seen quite a bit of change.  Firstly, back in February the ‘Tardis’ arrived with the installation of the evaporating toilet and so far all seems to be going well with it, though I have yet to give it its first service.  Then in April we had the official opening, with Dave Thompson MSP performing the ribbon cutting, assisted by  Alex Matheson of the Brahan Estate and George Campbell…

    • 22 Jan 2013
  • Kites of a Feather don’t Flock Together!

    Red kites, as you may or may not know don’t migrate to warmer climes during the winter months like the osprey. What they do instead is stay in their local territory,  group together for warmth (and company?) in communal roosts in the woods and survive as best as they can.  The juvenile kites born in the spring have a tendency to wander, however, to explore the surrounding territories and to find a community of kites…

    • 19 Nov 2012
  • Chicken Soup

    Fact 1- Volunteering is good for you.  It has only positive outcomes for all involved, for the giver and for the receiver. Barack Obama famously said, “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” And I agree. It feels great to give up your…

    • 30 Oct 2012
  • And They’re Off!

    Sorry it has been a while, again, since I last wrote anything, as always, I have good intentions but it is so easy to get sidetracked.

    There are indications that the quiet time at Tollie is coming to an end, I was there on the 23rd Sep. and there was a lot of Buzzard activity with a few Crows in amongst them and of course this attracted at least three Kites, may have been more as some of them were untagged.  Whilst there…

    • 26 Sep 2012
  • Kites and More.

    First I must apologise for being quiet of late, but every time I tried to write a blog something came up to stop me, I have finally managed to get some time so I’ve locked the door so I won’t be disturbed.

    We are now in to the quiet time at Tollie, the breeding birds will have seen their chicks fledge and will now be moulting, the immature birds moult earlier in the year, so will be keeping a low profile until they get…

    • 23 Jul 2012
  • He’s a She

    Last week the new satellite tracking page for our Red kites went live, of the birds we track by this method we are putting the details of six on the page, two birds from 2009 and four from 2011.  On posting the data for Lewis one of the 2009 birds we noticed that he hadn’t moved for a few days so a colleague went to check out the site, expecting to pick up and injured bird, or worse.  What he found was Lewis sitting…

    • 8 Jun 2012
  • Red Blue and a Dodo

    The jubilee celebrations are upon us, up at Tollie we have done our best to get into the spirit of the occasion.  We of course have our Red kites, and now we have a pair of Blue tits in the nest box, we just need something white.  There has been reports of a White-tailed Eagle in the area so it would be nice if that put in an appearance over the weekend of celebrations, then if we could arrange for them all to hang about…

    • 28 May 2012
  • Hello Houston, we have a problem.

    For the last few years we have been putting satellite tags on to some of our kites and you have been able to follow their progress through the Eyes to the Skies website.  That website is no longer being updated but we have our new site on the main RSPB website and of course the community page which you have already found as you are reading the blog.  It is our intention to have a tracking page from the main website too…

    • 4 May 2012
  • Bugs, Spies and Dr Who

    It has been a while since my last blog and much has happened at Tollie and the Red kite population since then. Sadly, there was the loss of Red T, one of the last of the Swedish birds brought over in 1993 to RAF Kinloss. It was even reported by STV.

    I was serving in the Photographic Section at RAF Kinloss in the late 80’s when the first of the kites were brought in. I remember going out to meet the aircraft as there…

    • 14 Mar 2012
  • Birdbox Barmy

    On Sunday the 12th Feb Tollie Red Kites and the Easter Ross Wildlife Trail held an event up at Tollie as part of the BTO’s National Nestbox week.  I have to report that a hammering great time was had by all, and the small bird population in the Black Isle area is now better off by an increase in available housing by a thumb flattening 25 new houses.  More information can be found here www.bto.org/nnbw/index.htm on…

    • 13 Feb 2012
  • Wanderings, Ramblings and Hopefully Bramblings

    On a recent trip down south I managed to spot over 30 different birds during the journey, this included a few surprises such as Barn Owl and Peregrine Falcon.  In addition to these birds I also managed three mammals, Red Deer, Fox and a Stoat resplendent in its white coat, a first for me.  This got me thinking that if I can spot all this whilst driving, safely I might add, how much can we see up at Tollie when equipped…

    • 19 Jan 2012
  • King Eider at Tollie?

    King Eider at Tollie.

    I thought that would get your attention, sadly the bird failed to turn up, might have something to do with the distance we are a way from the sea, however I did meet the man who took this amazing photo of the King Eider in Burghead harbour.  Thanks goes to  Allan Adams for allowing us to use his photo.  A visit to Burghead is a must if you wish to go and try to better this photo, I believe the King…

    • 19 Dec 2011
  • More Tales from Tollie

    Weather, weather and more weather, that’s been the story of Tollie this week, we’ve had everything apart from warmth, I’m glad I dug out the big boots and woolly vest last weekend.

    However, this weather has not put off the birds coming to Tollie with an increase in all the main players and good displays by the Kites, especially if a sneaky Buzzard should try and get a feed from the table.  I’ve been…

    • 9 Dec 2011
  • My First Blog

    As you will have noticed by now the Eyes to the Skies website has not been updated as much as we would have liked since the end of summer. The Eyes to the Skies project is coming to an end and there have been some staff changes, that is why it has been a little quite there of late. Fear not, the legacy of the project will continue through the Red Kite feeding station at Tollie and we will continue to work with some of…

    • 30 Nov 2011