• Fabulous fungi

    As autumn began, RSPB Loch of Strathbeg was delighted to host a fungi identification course in partnership with NESBREC (North East Scotland Biological Records Centre). Twenty keen fungi hunters joined forces on the day, led by the enormously knowledgeable Liz Holden. 

    Liz leads the group into the wet fen, near Fen Hide where an infamous stinkhorn fungus is uncovered. (Photo: Sarah Bedford)

    Ranging in skills from complete…

    • 27 Sep 2017
  • A haul of Koniks

    What’s the collective noun for a group of Konik ponies? I am not sure, but this spring/summer has certainly seen a veritable haul of ponies welcomed onto the reserve. Our herd number has bloomed from 32 to 39, with seven healthy foals born between March and July.

    Three of the new arrivals in the Starnafin group. (Photo: Sarah Bedford)

    Six colts and one filly can now call the Loch of Strathbeg their…

    • 16 Aug 2017
  • Bursting with colour

    RSPB Scotland Loch of Strathbeg's Wildlife Garden (Photo: Sarah Bedford)

    Summer is in full swing in Loch of Strathbeg's Wildlife Garden. This oasis, just outside the Visitor Centre, is a haven for birds, bees and butterflies. Planted up over many years, our well-established wildlife garden is a real joy to wander around, especially when the sun shines as it seems to have been doing regularly in these past few weeks…

    • 16 Aug 2017
  • Ospreys investigate the nest platform

    Ospreys investigate the Loch of Strathbeg nest

    Ospreys investigate the Loch of Strathbeg nest, June 2017 (Photo: Brian Sandison)

    Opsreys are an almost daily sight here at Loch of Strathbeg over the summer, often to be found fishing over the loch. So far, none had thoroughly investigated the artificial nest and platform which were constructed for them last year – so far that is, until now!

    On 26th June, we were excited to find no less than four Ospreys circling…

    • 15 Jul 2017
  • Recent sightings - May 2017

    We have been very lucky recently with some very exciting species of bird being seen on the reserve an on our tern island we have a large number of Common Tern and some Black-Headed Gulls beginning to nest. Below is a list of some of the species we have seen on the reserve over the last few weeks.


    Three individuals appeared on the reserve very recently and have been seen feeding in the pools in front of the…

    • 2 Jun 2017
  • A Job Well Done!

    Recently on the reserve we were joined by 23 eager volunteers from BP. They joined us for a day to help with various projects around the visitor centre and in the wildlife garden. Once split into four different groups each was given a task to complete and assigned an RSPB member of staff or volunteer to lead them.

    The first group led by Sarah was put to work in the wildlife garden. The jobs that needed done were to…

    • 24 May 2017
  • Sightings List – April to May 2017

    Recently we have had some exciting species visit RSPB Loch of Strathbeg. Below is a list of what has been spotted across the reserve over the last few weeks.


    Mid April the reserves first osprey of the year was spotted from the visitor centre fishing in the loch, let’s hope they take notice of our newly built osprey nest.

    Osprey flying over the reserve, Image – RSPB



    • 8 May 2017
  • Sightings for Early April

    It’s a very interesting time of year at the reserve at the moment. We still have some winter migrants on the reserve feeding themselves up before their long journeys north to their breeding grounds and we have some summer migrants beginning to appear. The local bird species are also preparing themselves for the breeding season building nests and singing their beautiful songs across the reserve. Below is list of…

    • 18 Apr 2017
  • Ospreys at Strathbeg?

    Osprey flying over RSPB Loch of Strathbeg

    Ospreys have been regular visitors to Loch of Strathbeg over the years. Spending the winter in Africa they come to the UK in late March/early April to breed, leaving again in August/September. During this time they can often be seen from the hides on the reserve fishing on the loch. Unfortunately they do have limited options for suitable nesting sites in the area and because…

    • 27 Mar 2017
  • Winter at Strathbeg

     ‘There and back again’

    ‘Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better’. But I can’t take credit for that. That was Albert Einstein about sixty years ago. And his observation couldn’t be more precise. The past three months passed very quickly. I guess time flies when you are enjoying what you are doing.

    During this period, I had the chance to take part in…

    • 27 Mar 2017
  • IMPORTANT NOTICE: Access to airfield hides

    The MOD are moving our access track to the airfield hides at Loch of Strathbeg. The work started today (30 Jan) and should take less than a week all being well.

    Access should be maintained throughout, but we apologise for any disruption. Please take notice of any signs on site. We will try to keep you updated but please contact the reserve with any urgent questions by calling 01346 532017.


    • 30 Jan 2017
  • Winter notes

    What have we been up to?

    For the last few months now Savvas and I (Katie) have been residential volunteers at Loch of Strathbeg. We have been living and working on the reserve and it has been great getting to know the reserve and the people that work here. Even in this short amount of time we have done so much and learnt lots of great skills, so I thought it would be a good idea to give a short account of some of the…

    • 27 Jan 2017
  • En Garde! The Art of Fencing...

    Fencing to the stars

    As we come to the end of 2016, it is about time we updated you on our biggest project from this year, our 3km fencing project, which is reaching its final stages. If you have visited the reserve and seen a warden zipping about on an ATV with some fence posts sticking out the back, that’s what we’ve been up to for a lot of the year!

    The humble beginnings of a fence. Photo by Imogen R…

    • 7 Dec 2016
  • Mosstown mosses!

    Recently, staff and volunteers at the Loch of Strathbeg have been busy with all manner of surveying and practical work around the reserve. A big part of the surveying has been monitoring vegetation as part of the Save Our Magnificent Meadows (SOMM) project.

    The aim of the project on the reserve is to restore Mosstown Fen, a large area of fen meadow by the loch, and increase the number and diversity of flowering plants…

    • 26 Nov 2016
  • Sightings and Celebrations

    The WeBS count on the 13th November saw our pink-footed geese number come to more than 12,000. Since then, the numbers have dropped off sharply, repeating the early peaks in numbers that we’ve had for the last couple of years. On the other hand, we’ve had a huge number of whooper swans fly in, totalling 1032 on the 13th. That is the second highest number in the reserve’s history, with 1188 being the highest…

    • 23 Nov 2016
  • Geese, Chainsaws and Space Invaders...

    It’s been a while since we’ve written but a lot has been happening. All of us have been very busy across the reserve with the influx of wintering geese and ducks, and continuing work on fencing and the plantation. Our peak pink-footed geese count so far stands at more than 31,000 (now down to around 10,000), plus around 3900 wigeon, 1175 tufted duck, 1000 barnacle geese, 603 teal, 500 lapwing, 139 pochard…

    • 28 Oct 2016
  • They did it!

    After making history earlier this month by being the first little gull chicks ever proven to definitely hatch in Britain [listen to the story here or watch here and here], all eyes have been on the two youngsters to see if they would survive to take their first flight and they have, making their parents Britain’s first ever successfully breeding little gulls.

    The nest at Loch of Strathbeg has been monitored with…

    • 2 Aug 2016
  • And the winners are....

    We're very excited to be able to announce the winners of our Doric Meadows Poetry Competition that we ran as part of the Save our Magnificent Meadows project. 

    There were three categories in the competition – 11 and under, 12 to 18 years, and 19 and over – which closed on 30 May. The esteemed judging panel of  Jean MacKinnon, Les Wheeler and Robbie Shepherd were tasked with selecting a first, second and third…

    • 29 Jun 2016
  • Little Things Mean A Lot

    It’s summer festival season, and here at Strathbeg there’s a lot going on.


    Little gulls – Ian Francis (RSPB)

    Headline Act: As you may have seen from the main Scotland blog we are rather excited. We have little gulls confirmed as breeding on the island in front of the Visitor Centre, (and conveniently also in front of the new office windows)! It’s a first for Scotland, only the sixth time it’s happened…

    • 22 Jun 2016
  • Come celebrate meadows with us

    On Saturday 2 July, like many people across the UK, we will come together to celebrate National Meadows Day.

    The first ever national Meadows Day was held last year and a range of events took place across the UK. This year looks as if it will be an even bigger event and that's certainly the case at Loch of Strathbeg where we would love people to join us for our Meadows Celebration.

    We are planning a day of fun…

    • 13 Jun 2016
  • New Babies, New Buildings, New Beginnings!

    We’re IN!!! Admittedly, we’re not completely sorted out yet, and there are some issues with communications still to be resolved, but we have desks and computers, and the last week has been a veritable storm of putting up shelves , unpacking boxes and finding a home for everything....when we’re not distracted by the view from the window, that is!

    This is the view from the yard:

    New office block –…

    • 16 May 2016
  • Out of Communication!

    We're getting closer to moving office!

    Although this is exciting, it also means there will be a significant amount of disruption to our communications - the phone line will be moving before we do, and although we're shifting the answerphone with it, we may take slightly longer to get back to you as we'll be shifting a load of boxes and furniture.

    Our internet connection will be moving as well, and all the…

    • 4 May 2016
  • Meadows Doric Poetry Competition - the important stuff - Rules, Terms & Conditions and Prizes

    Not heard about the Meadows Doric Poetry Competition yet? Click here for info.

    Competition rules:  

    1. This competition is open to all UK residents, except for any employee of or person directly connected with the RSPB or a Save Our Magnificent Meadows partner organisation and their immediate family members. 
    2. By entering the competition applicants or their parents/legal guardians agree to these Rules and the Terms and …
    • 22 Apr 2016
  • Our Meadows Doric Poetry Competition launches today

    Regular reserve visitors, blog readers and Facebook friends will know that we are involved in an exciting project called Save Our Magnificent Meadows

    Save our Magnificent Meadows is the UK’s largest partnership project transforming the fortunes of vanishing wildflower meadows, grasslands and wildlife. Led by Plantlife, the partnership is made up of 11 organisations, including RSPB Scotland and is primarily funded by…

    • 22 Apr 2016
  • April – Sunshine and Showers

    The April WeBS count is perhaps the most brutal one for those of us who are not ‘morning people’; being out in the field at 4.30 am, alert and ready to count geese can be quite challenging. You do get the reward of glorious sunrises, though, and a real sense of the year turning – on mid-winter counts from where I’m normally situated, the sun comes up behind the Rookery, but now it rises from the sea to the north of the…

    • 13 Apr 2016