• Upcoming changes at Marshside

    The Ribble Estuary is vast, stretching from Lytham St Annes on the north side, down to Southport on the south side. Between the two, the great expanse of marvellous mudflats and saltmarsh are a vital home for nature. 

    Mud might not sound particularly appetising to us, but it's crucial for quarter of a million birds that are drawn in by it every year. Ribble mud is a canteen - it is packed full of cockles and shrimps and l

    • 25 Jun 2019
  • An exciting addition to Marshside!

    Thanks to funding from Biffa Award, we are taking even more birds under our wing on the Ribble Estuary after recently purchasing Crossens Inner Marsh, a wet grassland area adjacent to Marshside.

    The marsh, which is already home to over-wintering birds such as wigeons, pink-footed geese, black-tailed godwits and golden plovers, covers an area about the size of 38 football pitches.

    Over £464,000 funding from Biffa Award…

    • 4 Jun 2019
  • Nels hide is currently closed

    Whilst Rimmer's marsh is completely dry we have closed Nel's hide. We are taking this opportunity to make some repairs in the hide and give it a repaint.

    We will be re-opening the hide within the next couple of weeks at the end of the school holidays. Hopefully this will coincide with some water and returning wintering bird species like wigeons, teal, pink feet and godwits!

    Sandgrounder's hide is still open, as…

    • 23 Aug 2018
  • Breeding season update - Recent sightings

    This is a blog about the happenings and sightings at RSPB Marshside, a nature reserve on the Ribble estuary near Southport. 


    It’s been a busy spring and summer season so far – with lots of work being done by our warden team and volunteers to maintain the anti-predator fence around Sutton’s marsh.  The fence works by excluding foxes and badgers from the reserve, in order to protect ground nesting birds…

    • 5 Jul 2017
  • Recent sightings - a warm day in April.

    It’s been a couple of weeks since my last blog and there has been all kinds going on.......the breeding season is now in full swing. Lapwing have been nesting around the reserve, they have been quite early this year so keep your eyes peeled for their downy chicks wandering around the marshes pecking at everything they come across. Avocet have also taken up residence outside of Sandgrounder’s hide, giving possibly…

    • 28 Apr 2017
  • Warblers on the march - Recent sightings

    Our summer visitors are continuing to return in large numbers to Marshside - the last week has seen wheatear, sand martin, house martin and swallow making a comeback along with a few of our favorite warblers......chiffchaff, blackcap and willow warbler have all been seen (or heard) around the reserve.

    It was a slightly overcast day when I found the time to see what's been about, once again there were plenty of pink…

    • 7 Apr 2017
  • A warm afternoon brings out the butterflies - Recent sightings

    I'm going to start this weeks blog by giving a mention to our early emerging butterflies, I spotted two species while I was out on the marsh this afternoon - Glorious sunshine possibly bringing them out of hibernation.

    The first was a peacock butterfly, unmistakable with it's menacing eyes shining brightly in the sun....

    Peacock butterfly by Barry Smith

    And the second was a number of small tortoiseshell feeding…

    • 24 Mar 2017
  • Spring is in full swing.

    The most exciting time of the year is upon us and the movement is on.........the departure of our winter visitors is underway and the summer migrants are beginning to appear - along with numerous early flying bees and butterflies. 

    Colt's foot is starting to push it's way through bringing a splash of yellow around the reserve and avocet numbers are continuing to increase, with around 50 currently dividing their t…

    • 15 Mar 2017
  • Recent sightings and a quick visit to the outer marsh.

    First things first, our avocets have well and truly returned!!

    On 2nd March there were six reported at Hesketh out marsh and another six were reported from Nel’s hide. Hot off the press today is a revised total of twelve avocets at Marshside, all of which were identified at Nel’s pool.


    Avocets at Nel's by Barry Smith

    There have been numerous sightings of water pipit this week, including two seen together…

    • 3 Mar 2017
  • Recent sightings - Is that spring in the air?

    I'm slightly late with my sightings blog this week as we've been busy over at Hesketh out marsh carrying out some essential habitat management work, if you haven't had a chance to get over there it's definitely worth a visit - expect to see large flocks of redshanklapwing and oystercatcher - also short eared owl, barn owl and marsh harrier have all been spotted recently - check out our winter overview on…

    • 21 Feb 2017
  • February continues to race away - Recent sightings

    Back to the usual sightings blog this week, with lots of interesting things to report. There have been a couple of lovely clear days giving great views out across the marshes to Blackpool, thought I'd share a picture taken during my lunch earlier today......

    View of Blackpool by Barry Smith

    It's not just the view that's appealing, the outer marshes are the places to see some spectacular stuff - hen harri…

    • 10 Feb 2017
  • Recent sightings and the monthly challenge.

    You may remember that we set you a challenge last month to beat 46 sightings from around the reserve in a two hour window.......well it's come around already so I've been out around the marshes to see what I could find.

    I set out around 10 O'clock this morning with the sun shining brightly over the reserve, albeit with a little bit of cloud involved.

    Sunshine on the marsh by Barry Smith

    I started out at…

    • 3 Feb 2017
  • Recent sightings and big garden birdwatch

    As the big garden bird watch is nearly upon us I thought I'd get out on the reserve and see how many garden birds I could spot in half an hour - it should have been an hour but it was so cold out there I couldn't wait to get back to the truck!

    The first to show it's face was a cheeky robin sitting boldly on a fence post, not at all bothered as I pulled up by the cattle pen on Marshside Road......

      

    Robin by…

    • 27 Jan 2017
  • Another week goes by - Recent sightings

    A couple of days have been thick and drizzly this week – the kind of rain that soaks your outer layer in an instant and cuts visibility down to zero.......my mum used to call it scotch mist, not ideal conditions for digging out your binoculars but you just never know what might turn up.

    Saturday saw a visit from the Sefton coast landscape partnership group who spent a number of hours with John Dempsey exploring…

    • 20 Jan 2017
  • Windswept recent sightings roundup

    It has been an interesting week here at Marshside with the weather pretty much dictating where the birds can go on the reserve. There have been some really strong (and cold) winds which have seen our birds struggling to get around - lets face it when you see a flock of pink footed geese flying backwards you know it's a windy day!!

    Geese in reverse by Barry Smith

    For those brave enough to face the conditions head…

    • 13 Jan 2017
  • Recent sightings and a bit of friendly fun.

    As part of our recent sightings post, once a month the Marshside Interns (myself and Hazel Watson) are going to spend a couple of hours monitoring and identifying the vast array of different species that visit the reserve . We thought it would be a bit of fun to challenge our visitors to do the same - and for you to let us know how you get on via this blog.

    So this morning we set off in pretty wet and cold conditions with…

    • 6 Jan 2017
  • Recent sightings roundup

    So Christmas has been and gone and everybody is starting to feel like they need to get outdoors for some fresh air and exercise.

    It appears that the snow goose may well have enjoyed the festive period here at Marshside, it was seen on Boxing day on Rimmer's Marsh along with a mixture of pink footed geese and greylag geese

    Sandgrounders hide continues to provide brilliant views of our large flocks of lapwing and golden…

    • 28 Dec 2016
  • Recent sightings returns

    There has been lots to see at Marshside this week with large numbers of lapwing and golden plover giving a spectacular aerial display across Sutton's marsh.

      

    Roger Tidman (rspb-images.com)

    An early walk around the marsh on Tuesday flushed a number of brown hare and common snipe, both of them weaving and whirling away as we approached. There were several little egrets and grey heron skulking in the pools and ditches, w

    • 16 Dec 2016
  • Postcard from Iceland

    We are eagerly awaiting the return of many of our special birds that come to Marshside to spend the winter and none more so than the pink-footed goose. The sight and sounds of vast skeins flying overhead is perhaps the most treasured aspect of winter on the Ribble Estuary. But where do "our birds" go to spend the rest of the year? Well yes, we know they go to Iceland to breed because we sometimes see birds with neck…

    • 28 Aug 2015
  • Some unusual recent sightings

    There has been lots to see over the last couple of weeks at Marshside. It is so exciting to see many of our favourite summer visitors back after almost 9 months. For many there is none more exciting than the swift, which arrived back in force about a week ago. Now you can see at least a hundred birds catching insects and making their fantastic screeching calls high over the marshes.

    Swift by Richard Brooks (rspb-images…

    • 25 May 2015
  • Recent Sightings: nests, a new electric fence and a summery feel to things

    Exciting news! I was lucky enough to witness our first avocet egg of the year actually being laid on Saturday afternoon. There are now avocet nests in front of both Sandgrounders and Nel's Hides so why not come to have a look!

    Avocet with a newly laid egg by Caroline Clay

    We will be attempting to finish off the new Sutton's Marsh electric fence tomorrow (Tuesday 14th April) and this includes working in the area…

    • 14 Apr 2015
  • Farewell and welcome back!

    With spring just around the corner there are noticeable changes all around the reserve, chiefly the arrivals and departures of all sorts of migrating birds. Our first Wheatear was sighted on the saltmarsh a few days ago perching on a fence post; while the returning avocets are making themselves at home outside Sandgrounders Hide - providing excellent photography opportunities as they display!

    Wheatear by Ray Kennedy…

    • 15 Mar 2015
  • What's going on at the reserve?

    On Sutton's Marsh we are taking advantage of the dry period to refresh some of the waterways on the marsh. We only have a short window of opportunity for such work between the breeding season and the arrival of the autumn rains and water-birds. Its over 10 years since these ditches had a good clean-out and its remarkable how full they have all got – over 300mm of muck is coming out of most of them!

    All this…

    • 21 Sep 2014
  • New lease is a cause for celebration!

    Marshside reserve is getting ready to celebrate 20 years of giving nature a home on the Ribble Estuary. Our 20 years of managing the reserve at Marshside also coincides with the finalisation of a new lease for the reserve, which about trebles its size. Read the full article here.

    • 27 Aug 2014
  • Lapwing video

     Great video of a juvenile lapwing filmed by visitor Ron Jackson from Nel's hide.

    Lapwings have enjoyed the increased protection offered this year on the reserve, in the form of two areas of temporary electric anti fox fencing. The number of juvenile lapwings visible on the reserve have been very positive so far this year.

    Good views are best from Marshside Road looking into either Suttons marsh or Rimmers marsh…

    • 12 Jun 2014