The Peregrine Falcon nests in a scrape, normally on cliff edges. These cliff nests are generally located under an overhang, on ledges with vegetation, and south-facing sites are favoured. Periodically over the last 10-15 years the north side of Cammachmore Bay has played host to a pair of breeding Peregrine Falcons.
Peregrine Falcons have used our local cliffs for nesting sites for many years and their presence here in 1580 had a direct connection to Royalty and a murdered local Laird!
At that time the Estate of Findon was under the ownership of the Menzies of Pitfodels and Alexander Menzies, a son of the Provost of Aberdeen, was charged with the guardianship of a nest of Peregrine Falcons that were on the nearby cliffs at Earnsheugh, near to the village of Findon. This charge was conferred on him by King James VI who was a passionate follower of Falconry and Hawking.
Unfortunately this particular interest ended with Menzies untimely death at the hands of a neighbourhood landowner. On the 9th May of that same year William Forbes of Portlethen murdered him at the Cairn of Loirston as he travelled along that route to inspect the falcon’s nest. Forbes and a band of accomplices ambushed Menzies, shot him through the heart with two bullets, then rushing forward they stabbed him a further nine times robbing the dead man of sword, hanger and cloak.
The perpetrators of this attack remained free for 30 years before they were tried and sentenced – after which they received a royal pardon. The cause and reason behind this murder are unknown but it caused a bitter feud between the Menzies and Forbes’s for many years that followed.
Extreme Twitching from the 16th century – bullets, blood and butchered barons.
Passive Bird watching from the 21st century – binoculars, bushes and bloody Bill Oddie!
Take your pick!