• Bin it!

    Last week, Naomi (Visitor Experience volunteer), Paul Turner (Warden) and myself (Visitor experience officer) went out to do some litter picking on the sides of the road that goes along the Strath Halladale. At the beginning I wasn’t expecting to find that much rubbish; just a few bottles and bags. Well, this is the result after about 2 hours of litter picking:



    We collected a great amount of rubbish: bottles…

    • 29 May 2016
  • Sundews are back at RSPB Forsinard Flows!

    The first sundews of the season are back on the Dubh Lochan Trail. Here at Forsinard we love these tiny clever plants, which at the moment are smaller than the nail on your little finger - that’s about 5 mm! So if you’re thinking about going for an eye test, just come to Forsinard and if you manage to spot them you’ll get full marks from the optician!

    Sundews are carnivorous plants that only grow in…

    • 20 May 2016
  • Expanding our Visitor Team

    Hello. I’m Naomi, the Visitor Operations Volunteer here at Forsinard Flows. A previous foray into Caithness gave me a glimpse into the intriguing habitats of the Flow Country and a sample of its incredible expanse, this captured my imagination and I leapt at the chance to return this summer. For the next 3 months I’ll be helping Marina in and around the visitor centre and on guided walks.

    For the past 4…

    • 13 May 2016
  • Hello everyone!

    I’m Marina, the Visitor Experience Officer for this visitor season at Forsinard Flows. I volunteered last summer doing breeding bird surveys at Forsinard; that means walking lots and resting not much! But it also means getting to experience the bog in a way not many people have done and getting a real feeling of satisfaction from overcoming all the challenges the bog presents (sometimes as simple as not getting your…

    • 27 Apr 2016
  • Visitor Season at Forsinard Flows

    Over the last couple of weeks there has been a noticeable change...spring is definitely in the air at Forsinard Flows as the weather changes (I hesitate to say ‘improves’) and we start to see some of our summer migrants return to the flow country for the breeding season.

    Already I have seen golden plover and meadow pipit from the Flows Lookout Tower on the Dubh Lochan Trail and common lizards basking on the…

    • 1 Apr 2016
  • Winds of Change

    Well here at Forsinard I've lost Anna my Information Assistant! Not lost as in she is wandering around the bog somewhere or fallen in a deep peaty pool. Stolen is probably a better word to use; again not that she has been kidnapped or abducted....maybe "head-hunted" is better....anyway...Anna has become the new Assistant Warden at RSPB Tayside Reserves and will be based down at Loch Leven, just south of Perth.…

    • 11 Aug 2015
  • Tales of Towers, Trails and Tempting Treats!


    Lots of things have been happening at the Forsinard Flows nature reserve over the last couple of months and finally I’ve had a chance to sit down and tell you a bit about them.


    Back in June our Flows Lookout Tower was completed and opened to the public along with the new boardwalk. The tower (not a hide!) is designed to give people spectacular views across the Dubh Lochan pool system and the vast peatland…

    • 22 Jul 2015
  • Trail Update

    Dubh Lochan Trail (OPEN) –  This is the original flagstone trail found south of the railway crossing and the cattle grid. It will take you up to the Dubh Lochan pool system. Please be aware that the surface is uneven and can flood during poor weather.

    Boardwalk Trail (OPEN) – This is the new boardwalk trail that has been built as part of the Flows to the Future Project and also begins just south of the railway crossing…

    • 2 Jun 2015
  • Dance of the Adder

    For those who don't live in Caithness or Sutherland this was an article published in the John O Groats Journal.

    I have only once been lucky enough to see an adder (Vipera berus). Whilst I was delighted, a friend who was with me didn’t want to know. Shouts of “Its dangerous” and “It will bite” were all she would say as she headed quickly in the other direction. The snake had by this point disappeared into the undergrowth…

    • 26 May 2015
  • Trails Closed!

    Please be aware that both the Forsinain and Dubh Lochan Trails at Forsinard are currently CLOSED.

    As a result of the storms earlier in January, we have had a large number of fallen and hung-up trees across the Forsinain Trail, which we have had to close. Continued wintry conditions (snow/ice/flooding) have meant that we have also closed the Dubh Lochan Trail in the interest of safety. 

    We will notify visitors via the…

    • 28 Jan 2015
  • Exploring the past!

    Jill Harden, the RSPB’s Scottish reserves archaeologist, has recently traveled north to Caithness & Sutherland to explore the peatland’s rich historic environment and to visit some of the interesting sites on our Forsinard Flows reserve. Find out how she got on in this latest blog from the RSPB Scottish Nature Notes blog: http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/ourwork/b/scotland/archive/2014/12/15/a-trip-to-the…

    • 16 Dec 2014
  • The Red Deer Rut at Forsinard

    We have a good population of Red Deer at Forsinard Flows, the staff here are lucky enough to see them nearly every day (occasionally they wander through the office garden!). The red deer rut is one of Scotland’s classic wildlife spectacles. To hear the roaring of the stags and witness first hand the power of two stags as they fight for hinds is something you will never forget. But it is also something that not many people…

    • 12 Nov 2014
  • Building Bogs and Seasons End.

    It’s that time of year again, the Flows are turning russet and there is a definite chill in the air. Hats are most definitely back on (and thermals too) and it’s not too long until our visitor centre closes for the winter season.

    I’ve had a lovely summer here at Forsinard. I’ve met some great people; from all over the world and I’ve seen some amazing wildlife. So I’d like to thank everyone who has come to…

    • 29 Oct 2014
  • Going Batty at Forsinard

    We have 18 different species of bat found in the UK. And only 9 of which live in Scotland. And up North where we are at Forsinard, even fewer! This is because the climate is colder up here with wetter cooler weather, we have shorter nights in the summer and there are fewer trees. This only allows the hardiest of bats to survive! Because I have a personal interest in bats I have tried to use my time at Forsinard to have…

    • 21 Oct 2014
  • Seawatching!

    We are lucky in the UK to have 23 species of cetacean seen in our waters, from the little harbour porpoise to the second largest of all the whales, the fin whale. The North and West coasts of Scotland have some of the best places to see species such as orca and Risso’s dolphin. This allows the many dedicated sea watchers and shore watch volunteers to spend time watching our seas for cetaceans. Adding to vital records…

    • 29 Sep 2014
  • Life as a Forest-to-Bog Restoration Project Intern on the Forsinard Flows

    By Rachel Seddon

    As I navigate my way across the open bog, scaling deer fences and scrambling out of collector drains and bog pools, I sometimes feel like I’m doing basic training, expecting at any minute for someone to bark orders at me, but all I hear are the barking of roe deer and the cries of buzzards overhead. There is a wealth of wildlife on the Forsinard Flows, Europe’s largest peatland – golden plover, greenshank…

    • 17 Sep 2014
  • Amazing Migration.

    We are now into August and suddenly it feels like Forsinard has become quieter when it comes to birds. Most people recognise swallows congregating on telephone wires, or the “V”s of geese flying overhead as signs of the changing of the seasons, that they are “flying south for the winter”. But why do this? Why migrate? And where are the birds going?

    Many species migrate, in that they travel from…

    • 18 Aug 2014
  • Flows on Film


    The blanket bog of the Flow Country is an amazing landscape and although, from the distance, it can look like a vast "empty" space it is in fact teeming with life. However it requires time and effort to see some of the most spectacular elements of this beautiful environment because they are so small.

    Recently we had the pleasure of having a camera crew on the Dubh Lochan Trail from Maramedia who were filming…

    • 12 Aug 2014
  • Discovering Bog Dragons for National Insect Week

    This is the second time Forsinard Flows has taken part in National Insect week. The national event is organised every two years by the Royal Entomological Society and aims to interest people of all ages in insect science, natural history and conservation.


    We are lucky here at Forsinard Flows to see a diverse range of insect species (not just midges!) and so this is a perfect event…

    • 7 Jul 2014
  • Life is a hoot!

     For any of you who watched BBC Springwatch this year from our RSPB Minsmere reserve, you would no doubt have seen the tawny owl (Strix aluco) chick in the tree that they had a camera on and marvelled at the variety of items that it was fed by the adults.

    While not a peatland species, we do have tawny owls at Forsinard in the strath (valley). Tawny owls are normally found in woodland habitats and predominantly broadleaved…

    • 26 Jun 2014
  • Dragon Finding at Forsinard

    As you may have read in my previous blog “Frog Blog” we have some common frog Rana temporaria tadpoles living in our visitor centre, or at least growing in our tank until they are released back onto the bog! Watching these amazing amphibians change throughout their lifecycle, from frogspawn to tadpoles to eventually adult frogs (they have back legs now) is a very interesting experience. We have 2 other amphibian…

    • 12 Jun 2014
  • International Dawn Chorus Day

    International Dawn Chorus Day at the RSPB Forsinard Flows nature reserve.

    International Dawn Chorus Day is a world wide celebration of the wonderful sound of the dawn chorus. We have an unusual dawn chorus here at Forsinard. Many of the species are fond of remote and wild places, so they can be difficult to locate over 200, 000 hectares and as the sun rises very early, the birds are up nice and early too! Although we…

    • 7 May 2014
  • Night life of the black lakes

    Night life of the black lakes by Mark Hancock (Senior Conservation Scientist)

    Forsinard reserve and the Flows of northern Scotland are famous for their 'dubh lochs' - literally 'black lakes': so named because their water is naturally stained by the peat, to be the colour of strong tea. As part of our research work at some of these lochs, we've been setting up camera traps - cameras that automatically take a photo when…

    • 6 May 2014
  • Frog Blog

    Frog Blog by Anna Jemmett

    In the visitor centre at Forsinard we have a great aquarium display, with a tank, information boards and species ID cards, but it has been empty over the winter. So last week, I decided to collect some common frog (Rana temporaria) spawn from one of the pools on our Dubh Lochan trail. The aim was to watch the tadpoles grow in the tank until they reach the frogling stage and then be released…

    • 24 Apr 2014
  • Spring is here!

    It has been a wee while since we last posted from Forsinard, but we have been extremely busy over the last few months and now that the spring is here (mm...tempting fate!?) we will be bringing you more stories from the far north. We have been seeing lots of our breeding birds arriving back including; greenshank, golden plover, curlew, pied wagtails, lapwings, meadow pipits, skylarks and today I noticed our first pair…

    • 17 Apr 2014