• Making Nature Count: Top 10 in the Perthshire hills

    RSPB Conservation Scientist, Jonathan Groom, gives an update on the Native upland woodland expansion survey in the Perthshire hills.

    Making Nature Count: Top 10 in the Perthshire hills

    I reached my first milestone in the study recently. I completed my first round of Breeding Bird Surveys. It is standard practice in such surveys that two visits are made during the breeding season; one during mid-April to mid-May and…

    • 31 May 2012
  • Culture Vulture

    Conservation Manager, Stuart Benn, reflects on the links between science and art and drawing inspiration from nature.

    Culture Vulture

    Back in February, I spent a week with friends in a beautifully converted old farmhouse at Buseu, high in the Spanish Pyrenees.  By day, Woodlarks sang right at the door but after sunset all was still, lit only by stars of such brilliance that I’d only ever seen their like before in the…

    • 30 May 2012
  • Reserves are not like buses...

    With buses they say you wait for ages and then two come along at once. But special places for nature are scarce and becoming rarer.

    In an exciting partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Parkwe've secured a special part of Scotland for nature and people.

    View over Wards Estate

    Why is it so special?

    Is it the stunning views with wetlands, woodlands and snow capped mountains (yes, they…

    • 28 May 2012
  • Birds, blizzards and...more blizzards: Dotterel surveys in the Cairngorms

    RSPB Conservation Scientist, Alison Beresford, tell us about dotterel surveys in the Cairngorms.

    Birds, blizzards and… more blizzards: surveying for Dotterel in the Cairngorms

    I’ve always been drawn to the hills.  There’s nothing quite like the feeling of space and perspective you get sat on top of a big hill in the middle of nowhere, especially if you’re lucky enough to get a good view.  So when…

    • 25 May 2012
  • First find your scoter

    This week's exciting blog from Conservation Manager, Stuart Benn.

    First find your scoter     

    A couple of weeks ago I set out to do something that nobody has ever done before – catch our rarest duck, the confusingly-named Common scoter, on their breeding grounds in Britain.

    Photo: Andy Hay

    Recently, I blogged about Slavonian grebes and there are many parallels between them and the scoters.  Both actually have…

    • 23 May 2012
  • In praise of the Monadhliaths

    Conservation Manager, Stuart Benn, has been out and about in the Monadhliaths searching for ring ouzels.

    In praise of the Monadhliaths

    Loch Ness and the Cairngorms are two of the most famous places in Scotland, yet sandwiched between them lie the largely unknown and unloved Monadhliaths (think Mona Lisa without the S).  This range of hills hardly rates a mention in walking books and when they do they get universally…

    • 16 May 2012
  • A cacophony of cuckoos

    Stuart Benn is back with a new blog about cuckoos and white-tailed eagles.

    A Cacophony of Cuckoos

    A couple of weeks ago, I was getting worried that I hadn’t heard my first cuckoo but I didn’t need to wait too much longer – 2nd May for me, just a day later than two of the birds tracked by the BTO made it back to the south of England after their amazing journeys.  I’ve heard a few since but, yesterday…

    • 9 May 2012
  • Native upland woodland expansion survey

    RSPB Conservation Scientist, Jonathan Groom, writes about fieldwork in the Perthshire hills. 4:00am starts, black grouse, hen harriers and more.

    Native upland woodland expansion survey

    Field work has its ups and downs. The 4:00am start so that I can be at my first survey point and ready to go at 06:00am is certainly a shock to the system. But not long after arriving at my survey site on one particular morning I was greeted…

    • 4 May 2012
  • What do Beyoncé and the Slavonian grebe have in common?

    RSPB Conservation Manager, Stuart Benn, is back to tell us about his work with the stunning Slavonian grebe.

    Slavonian grebes

    The weather has taken a real upturn since the weekend and the Highlands have come to life – ring ouzels piping from corries, divers wailing across lonely lochans and crested tits purring in the old Scots pines.  But, for me, the sight and sound of Slavonian grebes chittering softly to each…

    • 2 May 2012