• 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
  • Recent sightings – December 2016/January 2017

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

    2016 was a record year for RSPB Lochwinnoch with 127 birds recoded on the reserve. One particular bird that has generated a lot of interest is a male hooded merganser that has been around since the late autumn and was still present in late January 2017. A North American species with striking black, white…

    • 10 Feb 2017
  • Recent sightings - November 2016

    The temperature has really dropped in recent weeks, and with flocks of lapwing and pink-footed geese providing some beautiful sights and sounds on the reserve, it feels like we have turned the corner from autumn into winter.

    Thankfully it’s been relatively dry and clear and we’ve been treated to some gorgeous sunsets, frosted leaves and icy ponds.

              The Barr Loch on November 5th (© Joe Crossland)…

    • 30 Nov 2016
  • Recent sightings – October 2016

    Those of you following the RSPB Lochwinnoch Facebook page will know all about the excitement caused by a recent visitor to Lochwinnoch. Earlier this month a hooded merganser, an American species, was seen on the Barr Loch by a keen-eyed visitor Robert Allison. We don’t know whether this was a bird from a collection that had escaped, or whether it really had come from the USA, but it was a pleasure to see such a rare visitor…

    • 31 Oct 2016
  • Recent Sightings – 30/09/2016

    The seasons are changing and there’s a chill in the air. The trees on the reserve are slowly turning from bright green to brown, red and orange before they tumble to the ground. 

    Probably our most exciting sighting over the past fortnight is a juvenile marsh harrier, which first appeared on Friday 16th and has been seen almost every day since!  The marsh harrier is a large bird of prey, similar in size to a buzzard…

    • 30 Sep 2016
  • Recent sightings – September 2016

    September is off to a strong start with a number of interesting species seen around the reserve. We’re delighted to report that the nuthatch is still being seen regularly at the feeding station on the trail, giving visitors plenty of opportunity to get close to a species which is rare for Scotland. 

    We also had a charm of 20 goldfinch at the feeders in front of the visitor centre, and plenty of red admiral and…

    • 9 Sep 2016
  • Recent sightings – summer 2016

    We’ve recently had a glut of fantastic bird sightings, with three significant species seen on the reserve, taking our annual species count up to 119 for the year – one more than last year!

    Firstly, a male sub-adult marsh harrier was seen hunting on the Aird Meadow three days in a row, and was joined by a juvenile marsh harrier on the third day. We think this younger bird must have fledged this year. Visitors…

    • 1 Sep 2016
  • 'Bioblitz at RSPB Lochwinnoch' by Joe Crossland

    As the summer months have approached, we’ve all been looking forward to getting outside a bit more and making the most of the summer weather. Many organisations have been encouraging the public to get involved with various campaigns and activities – whether it’s a two-minute beach clean, a survey of nesting birds, counting bees or the naming of Britain’s favourite fish!

    You may have also seen…

    • 22 Jul 2016
  • Recent Sightings 1st-31st January 2016

    The start of a new year is often viewed as a new start. While we may not be able to wipe all things from the past, here at the reserve we can at least clear the species list and look forward to compiling the new one.


    By the end of last year we had recorded a total of 118 bird species for the reserve. Although slightly down on the previous years total of 123 this was still an impressive list.


    As you know the weather…

    • 6 Feb 2016
  • Recent Sightings 1st August – 31st October by Alan R & Claire M

    After a pretty dismal summer weather-wise, the better weather in August was a welcome relief! It was a great month for raptors, with osprey spotted hunting on both the Barr Loch and Aird Meadow throughout the month, a peregrine over the Aird Meadow on the 14th, frequent sightings of kestrel, and a male hen harrier over the Barr Loch on the 31st. However, the osprey wasn’t the only bird that the fish had to worry about…

    • 21 Nov 2015