THERE were reports of disturbing scenes at an Ayrshire beach as a number of birds were said to be dead or dying.

Sandra McDerment came across “over 60 dead and more dying” birds when she was out walking with her husband at Maidens Beach on July 15.

It comes as a bird flu warning was issued by South Ayrshire Council who were working to clean up beaches of infected animals.

In an online post, Sandra said: “If anyone is heading to the beach this weekend please be aware of the possibility of dead birds...we came across over 60 dead and more dying on the beach yesterday on less than a mile stretch at the Maidens and Culzean and there were many more beyond that.

“Keep dogs and children away from them as if it’s avian flu they can catch it although the risk is thought to be low.

“I phoned DEFRA and reported it and they are sending a team to collect a few for testing. They will notify me of the results in a few days.

“It was incredibly upsetting to see and I can imagine children may find this quite traumatic.”

What South Ayrshire Council are advising:

- Don’t touch any wild or sick birds you may come across.

- Keep dogs and other animals away from the birds.

- Avoid feeding wild birds, as this causes them to congregate and may encourage the spread of the disease.

- Do not touch wild bird feathers or surfaces contaminated with wild bird droppings.

- If you keep poultry or other birds, wash your hands and clean and disinfect your footwear before tending to your birds.

The virus is widespread in many parts of Scotland, with the Highlands, the Western and Northern Isles and the north-east particularly badly hit.

NatureScot – formerly Scottish Natural Heritage – advised last week that public visits to 23 Scottish islands well known for their bird populations, including the Bass Rock and Isle of May in the Firth of Forth, the Treshnish Isles in Argyll and St Kilda, should be temporarily