• Introducing the 2018 interns, Part 2

    Hello everyone! Having started 2 months ago, I thought it was about time I introduced myself! I’m Sally, one of the reserve Interns, and I’ll be living and working here at the Loch of Strathbeg right through until the end of the year.

    Having started life at Strathbeg as a local volunteer last autumn I’m excited to see what more the reserve has to offer throughout the spring and summer months!

    So far…

    • 4 May 2018
  • Introducing the 2018 interns, Part 1

    Hi Kim here – one of this year’s interns at Loch of Strathbeg! I just thought I’d write a blog in order to introduce myself and let you all know what we’ve been up to so far this year. 

    Having undertaken a short term voluntary placement at Strathbeg last summer, I couldn’t resist applying for this year’s internship. The opportunities it presents for those wanting to start a career in conservation…

    • 30 Apr 2018
  • Dunbar Hide: celebrating a collaborative project that's bringing people closer to nature

    Kirsty Nutt describes an exciting collaborative project which saw a volunteer group work with Aberdeen Foyer and HMP Grampian to deliver a new viewing structure

    Two weeks ago I had the privilege of attended the official opening of the Dunbar hide at Loch of Strathbeg. If you’ve not been yet, I would encourage you to pop along as it’s already provided great views of otters and a wintering bittern.



    • 4 Apr 2018
  • A Community Woodland is the Aim and Tree Planting is the Game

    It has been estimated that the plantation at Loch of Strathbeg has around 3000 lodgepole pines, a species planted for timber production. It is also a non-native species, which is why this stretch of woodland is gradually being removed. Our plan is to plant a new area of mixed woodland to compensate and create a space for all to enjoy.

    Our woodland will consist of a variety of native tree species including alder…

    • 9 Mar 2018
  • New year, new list for 2018

    Following on from our Facebook post about the Loch of Strathbeg year list, I thought I’d update on where we are so far into January with the count.

    Bird listing isn’t for everyone but we keep the reserve list as up to date as we can, for our own benefit and for visitors who are interested in the number of different species that can be seen at the reserve. Some species are very much seasonal, many of our duck and…

    • 5 Jan 2018
  • So long, farewell....

    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…

    • 16 Dec 2017
  • Recent Sightings 22/11/17

    There was no such thing as a lazy Sunday at Loch of Strathbeg this weekend. The team were out bright and early to carry out our monthly Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS). The wintering ducks are starting to arrive on the reserve with 1300 wigeon, 123 goldeneye, 77 teal, 30 tufted duck and 14 pintail counted. There has also been good numbers of whooper swans with counts of around 850.

    The pink footed goose count was fairly modest…

    • 22 Nov 2017
  • Many hands...

    On a recent sunny Saturday, a keen group of volunteers from Aberdeen University Conservation Society dragged themselves out of bed to spend the day helping out as a volunteer work party at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg.

    Some of our band of merry volunteers (Photo: Sarah Bedford)

    Many of them made the trip from Aberdeen to Fraserburgh by public transport, and then they had to be raring to go nice and early and then pull on…

    • 17 Nov 2017
  • Dunbar Hide: a new hide in the making

    The new Dunbar Hide: truly a team effort!

    As I’ve quickly come to realise, any project at Strathbeg is a team effort, but the new Dunbar Hide which is currently taking shape on the reserve is a fantastic example of community partnership in action. Thanks to a lot of hard work by many people over the past year, visitors will soon be able to enjoy a new path and boardwalk out into the wetland, leading to the new hide which…

    • 26 Oct 2017
  • Keeping our beach beautiful

    The northern tip of the Loch of Strathbeg reserve is one of its least-visited corners – yet in the few months I have been here, it’s quickly grown to be one of my favourites. From the village of St Combs, five miles of sand beach and towering dunes sweep south past the estuary to the lighthouse at Rattray Head.

    It’s a beautiful beach, but like all beaches it suffers from an ever-growing tideline of plastic…

    • 12 Oct 2017
  • 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