Today we're launching a brand new blog covering lots of different RSPB Scotland sites and projects across the Forth and Lomond area. Since this blog will be covering different reserves, and will have lots of different people contributing, we thought we'd give you a quick introduction to make things a bit simpler. This one was written by Jenny Tweedie. 

Loch sunset - Ian Fulton

Setting the scene

In Scotland, the RSPB is divided up into three regions: South and West, East, and North. Within these regions, we divide things up even further, with area managers looking after specific reserves and projects. Running across the centre of Scotland is an area that we call Forth and Lomond, and the area’s reserve team have come up with a brilliant acronym to describe themselves: FLART! Within this area are a diverse range of reserves and projects that have never actually had blogs before, as well as two relatively new reserves with even more stories to tell. So instead of opening up lots of little blogs, we’ve decided to do one big one covering all our work here.

Forth and Lomond

Geographically, this area stretches from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park in the west right over to the Firth of Forth in the east. RSPB Scotland manages several reserves in the area, so it’s probably useful to list them all:

Loch Lomond – situated on the south eastern shores of the loch, this is one of our newest reserves in Scotland. Purchased in 2012 with the assistance of our wonderful supporters, we’ve been working hard to improve the site for people and for wildlife. You can now visit the reserve all year round, using our visitor hub, and new paths.

Inversnaid – also on Loch Lomond, but further north on the eastern shores, Inversnaid is reached via a picturesque, winding road from Aberfoyle, or by boat. You can also walk there, as the West Highland Way runs right through it.

The stylish new viewing screen at Black Devon Wetlands - David Palmar

Black Devon Wetlands – our second new reserve in the area, Black Devon is an urban site on the edge of Alloa. Owned by Clackmananshire Council the RSPB signed a lease on the site in 2015.  With the help of the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative, there’s loads going on including new paths and a fantastic viewing structure to visit, as well as events through the year.

Fannyside – one of our lesser-known reserves, but home to Scotland’s only population of taiga bean geese! It’s a small site that’s hard to access and has no facilities. But the geese like it.

Skinflats – situated on the Forth near the Kincardine Bridge, this is a small reserve of mudflats and saltmarsh that attracts loads of ducks and wading birds as well as other wildlife. Access to Skinflats is limited by car, but it is possible to visit by bike.

Forth Islands – two reserves managed for seabirds in the Forth. The first is a tiny island about midway between Edinburgh and Aberdour. Inchmickery is covered in gun emplacements and was manned in both the First and Second World Wars. The second reserve is on Fidra another small island, but further east, near North Berwick. An army of volunteers have been helping us to remove an invasive plant called tree mallow from Fidra, to help the island’s puffins to reach their burrows.

Inchmickery (it looks rather like a battleship!) - Allison Leonard

Other projects - as well as all these reserves, you might also see posts about some of our partnership projects in the area, including the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative, the Aberfoyle Osprey Project, and the Great Trossachs Forest.

So much to say! 

As to the content, well with so many things to talk about, this blog will be quite diverse! We’ll be updating you on exciting wildlife sightings and surveys, work to improve our reserves, and all the fantastic tasks carried out by our dedicated volunteers (as well as letting you know about any volunteering opportunities). We’ll talk about some of the events running in the area, link in with UK-wide projects, such as the Big Garden Birdwatch, and even post the odd-sunset picture or two.

So please do subscribe to this blog, and stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks. You can also get updates on our work in this area by following us on Twitter @RSPBGlasgow and Facebook RSPBGlasgow.