It is traditional to end the year by re-capping on all the things that have happened over the past 12 months. This year we’ve had so much going on at Baron’s Haugh during November and December that it’s more than enough to fill this blog post!

We’ve been finishing a piece of work that began with the restoration of Cemetery Marsh: We’ve installed an interpretation panel and have been building a viewing screen for birdwatching. This will provide a focal point to watch the newly restored wetland from and to screen people, allowing them to watch wildlife without causing disturbance.

Building any structure from scratch is a challenge, so the planning stage took quite a long time. We were helped in a huge way by our volunteers. In fact, our volunteers were such a big part of this project that we wouldn’t have been able to complete it without them, they worked extra days, built models, brought their own tools in and project managed the whole build.

Krista was the only volunteer that we lost to the holes! Photos by Hannah Sharratt.

We used timber from another RSPB reserve, Wood of Cree in Dumfries and Galloway to build the screen. This chunky larch will weather to a beautiful grey colour and is great timber to use for outdoor projects. Once we decided on a design, we began by digging five holes for the verticals - quite an undertaking! We then used concrete to plant the posts that would support the screen and larch to create the walls, placing windows at strategic heights.

This might sound straight forward but here are some figures for you, the holes were one meter deep, we used 40 bags of concrete, we drilled over 150 holes and banged in six-inch nails into each one! We will continue to work in this area, installing some hedging and levelling the floor in the screen but at a more sedate pace… hopefully!

Don't worry David, only 149 more to go! Photo by Hannah Sharratt.

We are very proud of the resulting screen and hope that visitors to the reserve enjoy using it and seeing some brilliant wildlife!

There have been some brilliant sightings recently at the reserve, from three little egrets at the end of November, with one hanging around for a couple of weeks, up to 40 curlew and whooper swans and large numbers of teal.

Little egrets from the Marsh Hide. Photo by Frank Gibbons.

We look forward to seeing you down at the reserve over the winter.

The RSPB Baron's Haugh team.

This project was co funded by the LIFE financial instrument of the European Community through EcoCoLife