• A Smackerel of Honey

    “My favourite thing is me coming to visit you, and then you ask, 'How about a small smackerel of honey?'”

     - A.A. Milne

    At a time when we are seeking applicants who would like to spend six months living on site as residential volunteers, focusing on practical conservation work, this week has been ideal to showcase the variety of tasks the warden team get involved in at Mersehead.  If what you read either…

    • 12 Aug 2022
  • Hmmm... the sparrows!

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 30 July - 5 August 2022

    Life continues to be busy for everyone at Mersehead and this volunteer certainly jumped at the chance of a visit to Kirkconnell Merse, tagging along with a group bursting with botanical knowledge is a perfect way for me to spend a few hours, I just hope that I've retained some of the info!

    Thursday saw Kirkcudbright Botany Society members, a couple of R.S.P.B. wardens, an…

    • 5 Aug 2022
  • Luing Escape

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 23rd – 29th July 2022

    Many visitors to Mersehead walk the main coastal trail in a loop around the reserve. The Southwick Water cuts its way west through the merse (saltmarsh) and winds out across the sandflats into the estuary towards Sandyhills. This is a beautiful quiet corner of the reserve and worth the extra walk. As you head out along the merse footpath, you will see the Aberdeen Angus h…

    • 29 Jul 2022
  • Heatwave!

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 16th - 22nd July 2022

    When summing up the past week at Mersehead, I often find it difficult to find a theme for the week, and instead usually just write about whatever we’ve been up to that week with no link what so ever. However this week that’s not the case, as in the immortal words of Martha Reeves “It feels like a heatwave!” In this case though that’s because Mersehead (much like the rest of the…

    • 22 Jul 2022
  • Toad in the Mull

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 9th – 15th July 2022

    The Sun was out in all its glory last weekend, and it was great to spend Saturday welcoming and chatting with visitors, which acted as a reminder of the wide variety of individuals that Mersehead caters for.  Families with children collected their Big Wild Summer event packs and explorer rucksacks, and returned many hours later having had a fabulous time completing the 8 unique…

    • 14 Jul 2022
  • Questions - Starter for Ten...

    R.S.P.B. Mersehead Blog    2nd  - 8th July 2022

    Well July’s in full bloom and changes are a-foot here at Mersehead,  living and working right in the middle of a nature reserve certainly means you notice all the natural happenings. It also helps that I have the time to explore in the evenings-yesterday found me nestled down in the meadow at dusk waiting for a barn owl fly past! And it did indeed fly past….far too fast…

    • 7 Jul 2022
  • Merse Diversity

    Merse Diversity

    RSPB Mersehead blog 25th June – 1st July 2022

    Flat, alluvial, frequently marshy land bordering upon a river, a river estuary or the sea, specifically applied to the land (partly reclaimed) bordering the Solway Firth – definition of “merse” Scottish National Dictionary.

    The above definition gives a good indication as to where Mersehead obtained its name. This week has seen us spending…

    • 1 Jul 2022
  • An evening at Mersehead

    This week has been a long one over here at Mersehead and I mean that in the best possible way. On Tuesday we had the longest day of the year, so this week we have had a few extra hours of daylight at the end each day giving me the chance to enjoy the reserve after work.

     Aside from enjoying the longer evenings we have been doing plenty of work on the reserve this week. A chunk of the week has been taken up by strimming…

    • 24 Jun 2022
  • If You Don't Look...

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 11th -17th June 2022

    Following a period of unseasonably windy weather, things finally settled down this week at Mersehead.  We have been treated to prolonged periods of warmth and bright sunshine, which has made it possible to finally get out and complete some of the survey work that requires such pleasant conditions.

    One such survey involved an idyllic sunrise walk across Kirkconnell Merse, to assess…

    • 17 Jun 2022
  • June is Buzzing Out All Over

    R.S.P.B. Mersehead Blog  3rd - 10th June 2022

    Well, what an amazing week again, I'm buzzing. Bees! I've never seen so many, and now that the Birdsfoot Trefoil, Red Clover and Yellow Rattle are all in bloom, our little buzzing friends are everywhere. Yellow rattle is really useful in a wildflower meadow because it is a hemi-parasite, taking nutrients away from grasses and stopping them thriving. Clover is a favourite…

    • 8 Jun 2022
  • Topping Up!

    RSPB Mersehead blog 28th May – 3rd June 2022

     With a heart-shaped face, buff wings and a pure ghostly white belly, the Barn Owl is a distinctive and much-loved countryside bird. Our resident Mersehead barn owl is currently hunting extensively throughout the early evening into the dusk as it is raising chicks. A favoured hunting spot is the upper saltmarsh where it has been seen quartering the ground daily this week…

    • 3 Jun 2022
  • Changes

    After a month away from Mersehead on holiday, this week was my first one back on the reserve. Though it’s been a shock getting used to the early starts again, the amazing views and magical dawn chorus make it very worthwhile. But something that has shocked me even more is just how much has changed in such a short amount of time. However, something that hasn’t changed sadly is the weather;  you’d be forgiven…

    • 27 May 2022
  • Right Place, Wrong Time

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 14th - 20th May 2022

    It cannot be understated what a privilege it is to wake up every day on a nature reserve, and immediately have your senses activated by the sounds of the dawn chorus.  There are so many species that could be listed as members of this elite orchestra, but those that stood out on Tuesday as I made my way to the Merse for an early morning survey included Common Whitethroat, Chaffi…

    • 20 May 2022
  • Ringing out the Changes - Spring's in Full Swing!

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 7th  -13th May 2022

    Well it’s certainly been a busy week at Mersehead! What a change from the classroom life of a full time primary teacher, I’m exhausted in a different way every day  but I'm enjoying every minute of the volunteer role! The jobs change with the seasons and we are carrying out plenty of survey work (if it moves or grows-survey it!) and vegetation control. The reserve itself…

    • 12 May 2022
  • I am a Twig

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 30th April – 6th May 2022

    Mersehead has been particularly dry this spring with only 15mm of rain falling over 40 days (20th March-29th April). This sustained period of dry and also windy weather led to the Natterjack toads entering a state of semi-dormancy with little activity recorded.

    On Saturday evening, the rain clouds gathered and a total of 14mm was recorded in the rain gauge. This led…

    • 6 May 2022
  • You Can Lead a Lapwing to Water

    Mersehead Blog 23rd - 29th April 2022

    The survey season at Mersehead is now in full flow, having been delayed due to the high winds, which finally eased on Monday.  Regular visitors may think some of the staff and volunteers have gone into hibernation, but on many days we are either up with the larks determining breeding numbers of waders, or out after dark measuring natterjack toads.

    It's worth an early start to survey…

    • 29 Apr 2022
  • Spring Has Sprung

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 16th- 22nd April

    This week has been an exciting one here at Mersehead. The dark clouds and pouring rain of the last few weeks have finally gone and been replaced by warm temperatures and glorious sunshine. To add to this our fields are now white thanks to a sea of daisies across the reserve, spring has officially sprung on the Solway.

    Daisies are not the only things popping up across the reserve, for…

    • 22 Apr 2022
  • The Good, the Bad and the Eggly!

    RSPB Mersehead Blog:   9th - 15th April 2022

    Spring moves apace, and the last few days have brought a variety of weather, from sleety woolly-hat conditions, to a very soggy Tuesday, and now brighter, warmer, more settled weather. The residents of Mersehead don’t appear to mind however, the Barnacle geese are making preparations for the trip back to Svalbard, feeding frenetically in the reserve fields and the Natt…

    • 15 Apr 2022
  • Secrets of The Sulwath Garden

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 2nd April – 8th April 2022

    After a couple of weeks of sunny (though not always warm) weather, normal service has resumed over on the Solway coast. Gone have the bright blue skies, replaced by black clouds, strong winds and rain.

    However bad weather doesn’t stop wildlife from thriving here at Mersehead and a lot of it can be seen in the Sulwath Garden. Since arriving at Mersehead the Sulwath…

    • 8 Apr 2022
  • Jack is Back

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 26th March – 1st April 2022

    Someone asked me this week what I find the most exciting species I work with. Although Mersehead is full to the brim of amazing species which change with the seasons, there is one which for myself takes the crown, the humble Natterjack toad.

    Mersehead is home to three species of amphibian the common frog, common toad and natterjack toad. The Common Frog is the first…

    • 1 Apr 2022
  • Broken Friendships

    RSPB Mersehead Blog: 19th - 25th March 2022

    What a glorious week!  High pressure, low winds and cloudless skies have led to woolly hats and gloves being discarded, and replaced by sun hats and sun glasses.  The energising power of our favourite ball of hydrogen gas has sparked a flurry of activity across the reserve.

    One thing I have noticed this week is that our favourite hedgerow birds, who have been such good friends…

    • 24 Mar 2022
  • Spring has Sprung

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 12th – 18th March 2022


    As we head into the middle of march – and the equinox this Sunday – spring truly seems to be getting into full swing here on the reserve. Although we aren’t completely free from wet or cold weather (then again, Scotland never is), the average daily temperature is slowly rising and as of this week our hours of daylight have officially crossed the 12 hour mark. These changes…

    • 18 Mar 2022
  • Washed Up

    Moths are great indicators of biodiversity and can tell us a lot about changes in the environment. The Garden Moth Scheme is a citizen science project open to anyone interested in recording moths regularly in their garden, anywhere in the UK and Ireland. With temperatures dropping to -5oC this week we were not expecting to many moths to be recorded and were pleased to see a Hebrew Character, Oak Beauty and 2 Early Grey

    • 11 Mar 2022
  • Inconspicuous by their Presence

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 25th February - 4th March 2022

    Tuesday marked the start of meteorological spring, and it has been uplifting to experience some calmer, sunnier days this week.  We’ve still had a fair amount of the wet and miserable kind of weather, but when it comes to transitions it is important to adjust to change gradually.

    Visitor centre on a sunny early spring day: Photo credit: P. Radford

    I’m not sure that…

    • 4 Mar 2022
  • Water, Water, Everywhere

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 19th – 25th February 2022


    Following hot on the heels of storms Dudley and Eunice, storm Franklin has left Mersehead a little waterlogged. Flooding on the access road forced the reserve to close on Sunday and Monday, and with many of the puddles elsewhere on the reserve yet to subside wellies were definitely a must this week! On the plus side, Barnacle Geese and Curlew have been congregating…

    • 24 Feb 2022