• Recent Sightings - May

    Recent sightings May 2019

    May was a busy month, with some great sightings across the reserve, including osprey, ringed plover, little ringed plover, whimbrel, common sandpiper, garganey, stonechat and wheatear and a host of warblers. We’ll keep you updated on sightings are the summer progresses.

    Osprey seen on 7th, 11th, 12th and 30th May

    Sparrowhawk: 1 on 25th May

    Buzzard: 1 on 12th May, 2 on 20th May

    Great crested…

    • 7 Aug 2019
  • Recent sightings - June/July

    Recent sightings – June to mid-July 2019

    Our new bug viewers have been especially popular with our visitors, providing a glimpse into the normally hidden lives of a range of insects. One new resident is the leafcutter bee, which as its name suggests, cuts away sections of leaf from a plant, and then uses them to line its nest, typically in pre-existing cavities as we have here, or in rotting wood which they can…

    • 6 Aug 2019
  • Unleash your inner wild thing in our revamped natural play area!

    We are delighted to announce that our natural play area has reopened for monkey business!

    A popular attraction for our younger visitors, our natural play area is an open invitation to get close to nature. 

    We are very grateful to tree surgeons TD Tree and Land Services Ltd and our team of volunteers who contributed their expertise and hard graft to produce a high quality play experience for our young visitors. We intend…

    • 23 May 2019
  • Recent Sightings - April

    April was a good month, with little gull, garganey, marsh harrier, osprey, black-tailed godwit, greenshank and redshank all reserve highlights.

    Gadwall – various days throughout April, with the highest count being four on 1st April

    Redshank – 2nd April

    Sand martin – First on 2nd April

    Goldeneye – 53 on 2nd April, 11 on 17th April, 5 on 21st April

    Swallow – First on 3rd April

    Pinkfooted geese…

    • 9 May 2019
  • Recent Sightings

    Marsh Harrier - 5 April

    Osprey - 2 April

    Garganey (m & f) - 9 April

    Willow Warbler - 9 April

    Blackcap - 9 April

    Chiffchaff - 9 April

    Greenshank - 7 April

    Redshank - 2 April

    Kingfisher - 9 April

    Nuthatch - 29 March

    Gadwall - 9 April

    Goldeneye - 9 April

    Sand Martin - 9 April

    Treecreeper - 9 April

    • 9 Apr 2019
  • Closure of the photo hide

    As some of you may know, we have taken the hard decision to close our photo hide at the end of April. The hide has been in operation for some time but is coming to the end of its useful life. The structure is ageing and in need of increasing repairs and maintenance, and managing the facility is taking up a large amount of staff time in a period when we need to concentrate our effort on the reserve as a whole. 

    Our priority…

    • 3 Apr 2019
  • Habitat creation at the reserve

    You may have noticed a few changes around the reserve recently. The most obvious being the large wooden sand martin bank which was built by and installed by our crack team of practical volunteers. Each hole you can see contains a tube of sand, ready to be excavated by nesting sand martins, who would normally tunnel into river banks and sand dunes to create a nest. We’re hoping our artificial bank will prove attractive…

    • 6 Mar 2019
  • Recent sightings - February 2019

    It’s been a busy time here at RSPB Lochwinnoch with a wide variety of sightings across the reserve. One stand-out visitor has to be the little egret that dropped in on 4 February – quite a rare occurrence for this part of the world.

    Little egret

    The little egret, photographed by RSPB Lochwinnoch's Visitor Experience Officer, Robert Conn.

    We’ve also been treated to large numbers of wildfowl around the reserve this…

    • 2 Mar 2019
  • New nesting rafts installed at RSPB Scotland Lochwinnoch as part of Garnock Connections

    As we approach National Nestbox Week, RSPB Scotland Lochwinnoch has been getting ahead of the game with a series of artificial nesting solutions that will hopefully appeal to a range of different species this spring.

    RSPB Scotland Lochwinnoch is a fantastic place to see birds all year round, from the woodland birds that come to the feeders just outside the visitor centre, to the whooper swans that glide majestically…

    • 5 Feb 2019
  • The globetrotting gulls of Horse Island

    If you’ve ever been to the isle of Arran by ferry, just as you leave Ardrossan harbour, you may have noticed a small island with an unusual tower and an unusual name. Horse Island is an important site for breeding gulls, and every year RSPB Lochwinnoch staff and volunteers carry out an annual survey of the breeding birds.

    Horse Island, from the Arran ferry (Joe Crossland).


    Birds are also ringed on the island by…

    • 3 Nov 2018
  • Recent sightings - September 2018

    September is a time of contrasts. It can sometimes feel like the summer has been extended, continuing as it often does into the middle of September, but give it a few weeks and by the end of the month summer can feel like a distant memory. A mass sprouting of fungi, and a costume change in the trees resulting in a blaze of autumn colour are the final moments of glory before the shorter and colder days of winter arrive…

    • 27 Oct 2018
  • Hidden Peel Tower set to reveal its secrets

    Did you know you can see two ruined castles from the RSPB Lochwinnoch reserve? Those familiar with the landscape surrounding Lochwinnoch will know the ruined Barr Castle, that sits in a field to the west of the village, but there’s another less known castle, and it’s hidden away from sight on the reserve.

    The Peel Tower, as it’s known, is a fortified tower house, built as a defensive structure by the local…

    • 21 Oct 2018
  • Sightings - 17 October 2018


    3 fieldfare
    14 great crested grebe
    7 whooper swans
    1 pochard
    1 goldeneye
    10 snipe
    4 shoveler
    1 kingfisher

    Full sightings board:

    • 18 Oct 2018
  • Recent sightings – summer 2018

    Today seems a little colder, there’s a breeze in the air, the sky is overcast and dare I say it, it feels a little like autumn. The birds have noticed too – we have seen increasing numbers of wintering wildfowl on the reserve this week.

    Today, our warden Dan counted 240 tufted duck out on the Barr Loch, along with 28 mute swan, 8 greylag geese and 25 great-crested grebes – some of the latter in family groups…

    • 19 Aug 2018
  • Sightings - July 2017

    Sightings – July 2017

    July was a great month to see baby birds. Our camera traps captured some lovely footage of a mute swan with a cygnet and a family of mallards. The woodland feeding station also attracted lots of young garden birds such as chaffinches, blue tits and house sparrows.

    We had some fantastic moths turn up in the moth traps too, including the fabulous pink and green elephant hawkmoth, intricately…

    • 7 Oct 2017
  • Sightings - June 2017

    We had some very exciting visitors to the reserve in June. We started the month with a visit from a peregrine falcon.

                Peregrine falcon

    Although native to Scotland, peregrines are not a common sight here at Lochwinnoch. In addition to this, we recorded our first ever sighting of a pale prominent moth. You can read more about this moth and the moth-trapping technique we use to capture an amazing variety of…

    • 10 Sep 2017
  • Recent sightings - May 2017

    May was a fantastic month, not just weather-wise, but also with a number of interesting visitors that arrived on the reserve.

    The distinctive call of a cuckoo was heard and a scaup and a flock of 40 whimbrel were also seen at the beginning of the month.




    Towards the end of May, a Marsh Harrier and Black-tailed Godwit were spotted.

                Marsh harrier


    • 10 Sep 2017
  • Get stuck into Family Volunteering at RSPB Lochwinnoch

    Family volunteering at RSPB Lochwinnoch is a great way to get outdoors, do something positive for nature and enjoy some quality time with your loved ones. Volunteers get stuck into a fantastic variety of tasks and learn about conservation methods along the way, gaining an insight into what happens ‘behind the scenes’ at a nature reserve.

    “I like helping nature! It’s good exercise and you get to see loads…
    • 10 Jul 2017
  • First recording sighting of rare moth gets RSPB Lochwinnoch in a flap!

    During our routine moth trap checks earlier this month, once species generated some excitement among the moth enthusiasts here at Lochwinnoch. Creamy in colour, slightly fluffy with delicately speckled wings, the pale prominent moth (Latin name Pterostoma palpina) has never been recorded on our reserve before – it’s typically found in the south of the UK and across Europe. It lives in deciduous woodland and it’s perfectly…
    • 27 Jun 2017
  • Gulls Galore on Horse Island!

    Our volunteer Joanna Lindsay shares her experience of being part of the yearly team surveying RSPB's Horse Island reserve.

    A few of weeks ago at the end of May, when the sun was shining and summer finally seemed to be making an appearance, a small team of Lochwinnoch staff and volunteers set out on an day-long expedition to carry out our annual nest counts on Horse Island, just 1km off the coast of Ardrossan…

    • 23 Jun 2017
  • RSPB Lochwinnoch Photography Competition

    Have you got an eye for a photo? We’re calling all nature enthusiasts to help us showcase our beautiful reserve with their photography skills this summer. Whether you prefer your smartphone for a quick snap, or if you’ve got the latest in photographic kit, if you’re a dab hand at capturing the perfect shot we’d love to see your efforts entered in our annual photography competition.

    With a variety…

    • 23 May 2017
  • RSPB Lochwinnoch Bird Sightings - April 2017

    April highlights

    April saw the arrival of some interesting summer visitors, as well as sightings of some elusive resident species.

    The first appearance this year of a grasshopper warbler was recorded on April 23rd.  Grasshopper warblers are less common in Scotland than the rest of the UK, and due to recent dramatic declines in their populations they are now a red list species.  Large flocks of up to 300 sand martins were…

    • 19 May 2017
  • Refresh your garden with the RSPB Lochwinnoch plant sale

    RSPB Lochwinnoch is a beautiful place to visit at any time of year, but May and June have to be some of my favourite months. The bluebells are out in force, the wildflower meadow is in bloom, the trees have re-greened and the air is full of birdsong and fluttering butterflies. The swallows have returned for the summer and can be seen darting and swooping over the water, catching insects on the wing, and the occasional…

    • 14 May 2017
  • My Volunteer Experience at RSPB Lochwinnoch


    I’m Joanna -  I am 22, a recent Zoology graduate from the University of Glasgow and current Visitor Experience Volunteer at RSPB Lochwinnoch. I have fond memories of family trips to Lochwinnoch as a child, and feel very lucky to spend my free time volunteering on such a beautiful and biodiverse reserve, especially when it’s so close to home. I started volunteering at RPSB Lochwinnoch in November 2016…

    • 8 May 2017
  • A winter visitor: the whooper swan

    Thoughts on the blog? We would be very grateful if you could please take a couple of minutes to fill out our survey.

    The habitats found at RSPB Lochwinnoch are an attractive place for a wide range of birds that make a huge effort to migrate here from distant northern shores. The whooper swan is one such example. Their ‘whooping’ call, and yellow bill distinguish them from our resident mute swans, and they will soon undertake…

    • 24 Feb 2017