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!


The buildings, before the roof trusses went on – Richard Humpidge

The office windows overlook the Starnafin pools, so there may be some jostling for window seats! (Actually, we’ll probably stick a coffee table and a scope there, so we all can get a look! How this bodes for our work-rate, I’m not sure... )

It’s pretty quiet on the bird front at the moment, with only 5,300 pink-footed geese and around 200 whooper swans on the December WeBS count. Hen harriers are appearing fairly regularly at the moment, with a female over Mosstown on 19 Dec. There’s a small flock of barnacle geese, and a red-head smew was seen last week from Fen Hide. Otters were also seen from Fen Hide, causing havoc with our warden’s counting of the ducks as they put everything into the air!

Hen harrier (ring-tail) - Andy Hay (

Our Konik ponies are looking very furry in their thick winter coats, and we’ve given them access to extra winter grazing; they don’t exist on juncus alone, and it gives them some drier, higher ground if the weather turns really wet. We’re starting to plan for next year, with a series of Save Our Magnificent Meadows walks and events, including a Doric poetry competition, and some creative music-making, so keep 2 July 2016 free in your diaries – it’s National Meadows Day and we’ll be celebrating!

Konik ponies ready for winter – Lorna Dow

The hides are all open over the holiday period, though staff cover will be reduced. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Hogmanay, and look forward to seeing you all in the New Year!