Two feisty birds have caused work on a giant substation at a new Highland wind farm to grind to a halt.
Even bird-scarers did not deter the ground-nesting pair of golden plovers, who have established a temporary home at the site of the Tom Nan Clach scheme on the Cawdor Estate.
Work on the foundations of the substation has ceased since three eggs were laid and two chicks hatched.
And until the visitors – who are a protected species – finally depart, the work cannot resume.
The brightly-coloured spinning scarers are mounted on poles in the ground, some with faces on them.
A source at the wind farm, which was knocked back by Highland Council and subsequently approved by the Scottish Government, said: “It was known they were on site and that they are a protected species.
“The bird-scarers which are blown round by the wind were put in, but the birds did not seem to be bothered by them at all. They built their nest about 30ft from the nearest bird scarer.”
A spokeswoman for Tom Nan Clach added: “As a responsible developer, we’re pleased to continue our commitment to protecting local wildlife in compliance with ecological and environmental requirements.”
An RSPB Scotland spokesman said: “We objected to the scheme because it had one of the highest densities of golden plover ever recorded in the UK.
“However, to our disappointment, it was given consent and is now being built.
“Since golden plovers return to breed in much the same area, it’s not surprising this has turned out to be an issue in this case. We support wind farms where they don’t threaten birds or other wildlife, but this issue highlights the problems with this site.”
The species’ other claim to fame is helping to spawn The Guinness Book of Records.
In 1951, the brewery’s boss Sir Hugh Beaver was out with a shooting party in Ireland. After missing a shot at a plover, an argument ensued over which was the fastest game bird, the plover or red grouse.
Finding the answer elusive, he pondered other questions regularly debated in pubs and decided an answer book would prove popular. He approached Norris and Ross McWhirter – and the rest is history.