Our latest clutch of interns have fledged from Strathbeg this week. James Butcher and Sarah Bedford have been with us since April 2017, starting off as residential volunteers then staying on and becoming interns for the rest of the year.

In honour of their last day we took some time off from the usual Friday jobs and took part in a mini Bird Race on the reserve. There were four teams of two and for an hour and half the loch, pools, trees, hedges and fields of Loch of Strathbeg were scoured to find as many bird species as possible.

Despite covering similar areas of the reserve there was a surprising variation in species seen by the teams. The lowest score was 35 and the highest 41 – a tie for 1st place! Species list below.

Mute swan, whooper swan, pink-footed goose, greylag goose, teal, wigeon, goldeneye, mallard, shoveler, tufted duck, gadwall, long-tailed duck

Grey heron, water rail, moorhen, herring gull, common gull, great black-backed gull, black-headed gull, curlew, redshank, snipe, lapwing

Starling, rook, carrion crow, jackdaw, tree sparrow, house sparrow, greenfinch, chaffinch, goldfinch, brambling, wren, robin, dunnock, blackbird, redwing, coal tit, great tit, blue tit, yellowhammer, linnet, skylark, meadow pipit, stonechat, reed bunting, kestrel, buzzard, pied wagtail, sparrowhawk, pheasant and woodpigeon. 

In total, 53 species. Not bad for only an hour and a half on a cold, wintery day!

Last week we had our staff and volunteer Christmas meal – a BBQ on the reserve. Despite being a wee bit parky, everyone enjoyed themselves - the viewing screen getting into the festive spirit with a sprinkling of fairy lights! I just want to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has worked hard over the year, especially the volunteers who put so much time and effort in to helping on the reserves. We have had a whole range of residential volunteers, our local volunteers new and old (well long term!) and folk who have helped out on work parties. It does make a massive difference to what we can achieve.

Photo: Kim Grant


An extra big thank you goes to James and Sarah, who have been a really big asset to the reserves. We’ll miss your warmth and enthusiasm and sheer hard graft you put in. Good luck with whatever comes next!

photo: James by Sarah

photo: Sarah by James