RSPB Scotland Loch Leven's Writer in Residence Anita John brings us the latest sightings from the reserve and is helping to gather stories as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. Anita writes:

Happy 50th Birthday RSPB Scotland Loch Leven!

50 Golden Years at RSPB Scotland Loch Leven!

On 29th October 2017, exactly 50 years to the day since RSPB Scotland Loch Leven was first opened by the 6th Earl Lord Mansfield, more than 400 people came along to join in the celebrations - and the sun shone brightly!

There were many activities on the day - from den building for children ....

 Placing the finishing touches!

...... to activities for children and adults!

Good to see dad enjoying himself too!

Our History Walks looked at the many changes RSPB Scotland Loch Leven has seen over the last fifty years and benefited from the historical knowledge of Jack Swan, (our first ever Warden), and Bridget Gray (our first-ever Teacher-Warden). Jack told us how he arrived at RSPB Scotland Loch Leven in January 1967 and how, in January 1968, overnight winds were so strong they totally destroyed the reserve's only wooden observation hut! The reserve now boasts three hides - still standing despite Storm Irma!

Tayside Reserves Manager Uwe Stoneman, Bridget Gray & Jack Swan discuss developments over the last 50 years

There were also fire lighting activities, nest box discoveries, our Wildlife Explorer group, traditional games including tattie hunting, and, of course, wildlife watching! And it was great to see so many people return to the place where they had once worked, volunteered or visited during the last 50 years.

Big Cheer for the Next 50 Years!

The day ended with fascinating talks from Frank Hamilton (previous Director, RSPB Scotland), Martin Auld (current Regional Director East Scotland), Alastair Lavery (former Head of Education, RSPB Scotland), Jack Swan, Bridget Gray (nee Moore) and from local Historian David Munro. Then onto the Raffle and our wonderful 50th Anniversary Cake, baked by staff member Saffron.

The first cut of the cake by an enthusiastic member of our Wildlife Explorer Group

As the day came to a close, members of staff and volunteers - both past and present, reflected on a successful celebration but ....


 Staff and Volunteers - past and present - look out over the reserve

as always, it was the wildlife which had the final word as hundreds of pink-footed geese returned to roost overnight in the safe environment provided by RSPB Scotland Loch Leven.

The perfect end to a perfect day!

For a historical, photographic timeline of developments at RSPB Scotland Loch Leven over the past 50 years see here.

All photos (Kirsty Nutt); History Walk (Anita John)