• Round the Bend & Up the Pole

    This has been one of those months when things have been pretty much non-stop.

    We have a new Species & Habitats Warden –welcome to Lorna Dow, who has been on secondment since the end of last year and is brave enough to want to stay! We also have a Meadow Officer starting on 4 April – welcome to Roddy Hamilton, who will be with us until the end of July, heading up the Save Our Magnificent Meadows celebrations, school visits…

    • 31 Mar 2016
  • Bittern Again....

    The bittern(s) continue to provide a good show for some of our visitors to Fen Hide; regular Brian Sandison had some fabulous views this weekend (12/13 March) of both the bittern and an equally obliging otter.

    Otter (Brian Sandison)

     Bittern (Brian Sandison)

    This morning’s WeBS count recorded 20,100 pinkfooted geese using the reserve, along with a great crested grebe of the year, red-headed smew, a go…

    • 14 Mar 2016
  • A Roof Over Our Heads!

    Finally – the roof goes on! (Ed Grace)

    The new office building is really taking shape now, and we’re starting to feel that we actually will be in there one day soon-ish! The roof panels going on, and the interior walls being set out give us a good impression of how it’s going to be; the big windows looking out onto Starnafin Pools are probably going to prove quite a distraction.

    Plans for the ‘Save…

    • 11 Feb 2016
  • GPS tracking of Konik pony grazing activity at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg

    As part of our SOMM project to restore the fen meadow of Mosstown Marsh, several of our Konik ponies have been wearing tracking collars, to give us some idea of where they prefer to go. Analysing this data in relation to the management regime in the various areas of the project and the effect of this on the regrowth of Juncus rush is proving interesting.

     

    Initial data came from one collar  which uplinked directly to…

    • 22 Jan 2016
  • All Frozen Up!

    This weekend’s WeBS count saw a reasonable start time of around 7.00 am, and the Loch practically frozen over! Most of the birds are gathered around a small stretch of open water in the middle, or on the fields and wet areas. Highlights were 8010 pinkfooted geese, 1012 mallards, 1277 teal, 1470 wigeon (and there was a lot of noise from the adjacent flight ponds so there are probably more), 567 whooper swans, 111…

    • 21 Jan 2016
  • Open with care...

    Some of the flooding has gone down at last!

    The track is passable with care, although there is still a deep, wide puddle-come-pothole at the corner by the end of the Tower Pool hide track. The boardwalk to Fen hide is also under water, but passable if you're wearing wellies. There are lots of good birds around - our year list is up to 72, with bearded tit, Slavonian grebe, red-necked grebe, smew, woodcock, purple…

    • 13 Jan 2016
  • Currently closed due to flooding....

    Although Loch of Strathbeg is a wetland site, we have had a bit too much water at one time and the access track has flooded and is no longer accessible. As you can see in the photo below!  We'll keep you updated when it clears.

    We have had 40mm of rain in 24hrs on top of ground that it already very wet. The roads in the surrounding area are also very bad - take care if you are out and about!

    • 8 Jan 2016
  • Happy Holidays

    The roof is taking shape, with the load-bearing walls and roof trusses fitted, so we’re starting to get a good idea of the space we’ll have – at the moment it looks huge, but I expect we’ll fill it quite quickly. The ongoing process of sorting out the stuff that needs to be moved across seems endless; the old office is full of boxes labelled ‘Keep’, ‘Shred’ and ‘Recycle’, and the shredder is running rather warm!…

    • 21 Dec 2015
  • Mud, Glorious Mud

    Time for another update on the building works! With the Big Shed and Dutch Barn now gone, the work on the new office has begun. The back wall, overlooking Starnafin Pools had to come down (which meant moving some rather inquisitive ponies to the adjacent field), and there are any number of diggers and lorries and mounds of earth and great big holes in the ground! (All building works photos by Ed Grace)

    footings for…

    • 19 Nov 2015
  • A surprisingly good year for Fowlsheugh's seabirds

    We've got some news for you from some of our other reserves in Aberdeenshire. Derren Fox and Kirsty Nutt describe the seabird breeding season success at both Fowlsheugh and Troup Head and why Scotland's seabirds are still struggling.

    On a day like this, summer feels a long time ago... but it’s nice to think back to those long, bright days when a walk along cliffs in Aberdeenshire was filled with the sounds of…

    • 14 Nov 2015
  • Signs of Progress!

    Works update: Demolition work is almost complete – the Big Shed and Dutch barn are no more, and there are huge holes in the sides of the Visitor Centre where the new bird-feeder viewing window and connecting door to the toilets and office are to go. The interior of the VC looks rather forlorn, with all the roof cladding ripped out! There are alternative toilet facilities round the back of the byre, and car parking is…

    • 20 Oct 2015
  • Celebration, Construction and Chaos!

    Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS to Fraserburgh and District RSPB Wildlife Explorers, who celebrated their twentieth birthday this weekend with the ‘Big Bird Box Bash!’ Over thirty members and leaders, past and present, held a party ...

    Jim Lister and Kirsty McLeod get down to some serious construction

    ... they made bird boxes (this was the very first thing they did 20 years ago), decorated cupcakes, did lots…

    • 28 Sep 2015
  • Autumn Begins!

    The black stork stayed around until almost the end of the month and the great white egret was definitely still here on 30 Aug. The autumn migration seems to have got well under way with falls of migrants all along the east coast – over the last week, the Plantation yielded lesser whitethroat, pied and spotted flycatchers, garden warblers, a couple of whinchat and a greenish warbler, one of our visitors encountered…

    • 3 Sep 2015
  • Mid-August Update

    Recent sightings: The black stork continues to make regular appearances, in between skulking in the rushes – it’s usually seen on the pools in front of the Visitor Centre, and occasionally on the Low Ground. The great white egret has proved more elusive, tending to be seen in the reeds along the north-east corner of the loch, north of the Cut. 17 August saw a spotted redshank and a little stint drop in briefly…

    • 24 Aug 2015
  • Black Stork!

    A first for the reserve, and something not seen very often in our area!

    photos by Mike Chandler (Thanks!)

    Seen this morning from the Visitor Centre, and showing well except when it goes for a snooze in the rushes at the back of Starnafin Pools, our first ever Black Stork has caused some excitement! The bird has a DARVIC ring -White with black letters, F05P - which, we believe, indicates that it is a youngster ringed…

    • 6 Aug 2015
  • Lost property - prescription sunglasses!

    Found at Troup Head - pair of prescription sunglasses in blue Optical Express case. Case has traces of printing as if it's been put down on wet ink, may say Miller, School of Civil Engineering, Geoscience.

    If these are yours, they are at the office at Loch of Strathbeg - give us a call on 01346 532017 or email Strathbeg@rspb.org.uk to sort out getting them back!

    • 28 Jul 2015
  • Meanwhile, amongst the seabirds...

    I WAS going to write something about our seabird colonies at Troup Head and Fowlsheugh, and how well they are doing this year - however, my colleague Kirsty has beaten me to it!

    See what she has to say about a recent visit to Troup Head here

    Details of how to get to our cliff-top reserves are on their respective web pages - Troup Head and Fowlsheugh. Although the main breeding season for the guillemots, puffins and razorbills…

    • 27 Jul 2015
  • A Busy Time of Year

    Looking back over the past couple of weeks, our new foals continue to do well, although they spend quite a lot of time asleep, so if you’re looking for them they may be curled up in the rushes or flat out in the sunshine! In the Save Our Magnificent Meadows project area, the first lesser butterfly orchid plants are coming up, there’s quite a bit of ragged robin showing, and northern marsh orchid spikes are flowering.…

    • 15 Jun 2015
  • An Unseasonal Season

    It seems our great white egret was a different bird to the one that was around at the beginning of the month – the first one was ringed, but the second one wasn’t, and bill and leg colours differed. The little egrets are still around, the wood sandpiper lingered until the 23 May, when it was seen along with a male ruff which is coming into breeding plumage. Up to five little gulls have been recorded on the…

    • 2 Jun 2015
  • Quick Update - 19 May

    So as soon as I hit the 'publish' button on the blog yesterday, the egrets proved me a liar - the great white egret is still around, visible from Fen Hide, and the little egrets - or at least one of them - are back on the Low Ground. In addition, a wood sandpiper was recorded from Fen Hide yesterday.

    People sometimes ask 'Why don't you have such-and-such a bird on your year list, I had one here last week!' -…

    • 19 May 2015
  • New Arrivals!

     

    On 5 May, the great white egret was still here. (thanks to Phil Day for the photo!) but hasn’t been seen recently. On 6 May, a curlew sandpiper in full breeding plumage was with a small flock of dunlins. A yellow wagtail was seen from the VC on 8 May, and there was also a whimbrel and a common sandpiper. Swifts have arrived and can usually be seen over the Loch. A flock of 30 black-tailed godwits was on Starnafin…

    • 18 May 2015
  • Spring? What Spring?

    Looks like I spoke too soon regarding the weather – after some glorious sunshine, the winter returned with a vengeance and we had an unwelcome covering of snow, followed by some wet and windy outbreaks! What the returning migrants made of this, or if it has affected them in any way, we have yet to discover. Fortunately, it stayed reasonable for the last (eye-wateringly) early WeBS count of the season on 20 Apr, and we…

    • 5 May 2015
  • Spring Sunshine at Strathbeg

    Spring is really taking hold now on the reserve, and the summer migrants are starting to appear. The first chiffchaff has been heard near Fen Hide, the great-crested grebes have been displaying on the Loch, a little gull and a black-tailed godwit made an appearance on the Starnafin Pools, lesser black-backed gulls have returned, and the first marsh harrier of the year – a female – dropped by this weekend, hunting over…

    • 13 Apr 2015
  • Magnificent Meadows Update!

    It’s magnificent!

    Well... it is, really. We’re a year into the Save Our Magnificent Meadows project now, and the difference is showing. Our four-legged work party has made great in-roads into the dense soft rush (Juncus effusus) that was all over Mosstown Marsh, and has reduced both its density and height. We’ve found the most effective management so far is to cut the stuff first with the topper and then…

    • 16 Mar 2015
  • Another Early Morning...

    This weekend saw the monthly WeBS count, where we scatter to the corners of the reserve and attempt to count all the waders and wildfowl - it's an important national count, going on all over the country, and provides a lot of data on our wintering birds. It's very much reliant on decent weather and favorable astronomy - a brisk wind will see most of the ducks hiding in the reedbeds, and a bright moon will mean…

    • 11 Feb 2015