• More than Spring Showers

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 6th – 12th April 2024

    It’s been a very wet start to April with heavy rain and wind combined with high tides.  But this has led to some spectacular sights at the Mersehead and Kirkconnell reserves.

    View along Rainbow Lane, Mersehead. Photo credit: R Chambers

    Usually, Rainbow Lane is part of our Coastal Trail but here is the view along the track on Sunday.  The water was higher than the team…

  • Spring Clean

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 30th March – 5th April

    Beach clean

    Following our third beach clean, the shorelines at RSPB Mersehead are now looking squeaky clean! A huge thank you to our hardworking Tuesday Work Party Volunteers who helped out with this. I was amazed by the amount of rubbish we collected over two of our beach cleans. 

    Rubbish collected from RSPB Mersehead during 2 beach cleans. Photo credit: F. Sanders

    Although…

  • Town Hall Clock spotted in the Woodland

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 23rd -29th March 2024

    Over the past week the amount of colour on the reserve has noticeably increased as wildflowers start to appear. A herald of spring is the Lesser Celandine, one of the earliest wildflowers to bloom. The bright yellow star-like flowers often blanket the ground beneath hedges and in damper places such as streambanks and meadows, closing their petals when the sun disappears.

    Lesser…

  • Spring Returned

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 16th – 22nd March 2024

    With last week being a bit of a wash out, this week it feels like spring has truly arrived at Mersehead!

    The newly painted picnic benches are now outside the visitor centre, the holiday cottage gardens have had the first mow of the year and the reserve team are making good progress with repairs and maintenance in readiness for the breeding season.

    Returning for spring

    We…

  • Return of the Rain While Breeding Season Preparation

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 9th – 15th March 2024

    Last week the weather promised us spring, but alas it was a false promise, as this week saw a return to some wet, windy, truly wild days at Mersehead.  The weather, coupled with some very high tides along the Solway meant that much of our reserve team’s work this week was focussed on repairs and maintenance in preparation for the breeding season.

    Barnacle Geese

    As we…

  • The End of Winter

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 2nd – 8th March 2024

    The Lapwings have been busy with their tumbling display flights over Mersehead this week. Lapwings have a complex series of breeding season displays both in the air and on the ground; the aerial displays advertise, define and maintain territories whilst conveying important information to the female in selecting a mate.  Morning, late afternoon and into the evening are the best…

  • It's the "Moth" Wonderful Time of the Year

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 24th February - 1st March

    The months are flying by, I cannot quite believe it’s March already! At Mersehead, the start of March marks the beginning of our moth trapping season, which I am very excited to be involved with this year. From March until November, we take part in the Garden Moth Scheme (GMS) which involves setting up a moth trap each week to gather data about garden moths. It's a…

  • More Than Meets the Eye

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 17th February – 23rd February

    Following on from last week’s blog, we are continuing to feel a change in the air with regular sounds of bird song, as well as the morning and evenings gradually getting lighter. Plenty of sightings and signs we are getting that wee bit closer to Spring!

    View of the beach at dusk. Photo credit: A. Mulraney

    Buds beginning to open on Cherry Blossom tree at…

  • Feeling the Love of Nature

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 10th February – 16th February

    “Again rejoicing Nature sees
    Her robe assumes its vernal hues.
    Her leafy locks wave in the breeze
    All freshly steep’d in morning dews.” 

    — Robert Burns

    The romantic bard certainly had a profound way of expressing his observations and love of nature. I have my own tale of love and nature appreciation to share about Mersehead, as I reflect on the…

  • The Times They are a Changin’ (Definitely, Maybe)

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 3rd February – 9th February 2024

    What a topsy-turvy weather week we have had on Mersehead!! Some amazingly calm and beautiful days sprung hints of an early spring, with certain species searching for, and in some cases find their singing voice (more on that later).  But alas…by the end of the week we are returned to the dark, dreich depths of winter winds, snow and sleet with shelter sought by all…

  • Every Survey Counts!

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 27th January – 2nd February 2024

    The weather has been a mixed bag this week at Mersehead with rain, wind and blue skies, however, it did stay dry over the weekend for the Big Garden Birdwatch! We had plenty of birds that came to feed on our feeders outside the visitor centre, including Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow and even a few Pheasants!

     

    View of the Sulwath garden. Photo credit: A. Mulrane…

  • Choose Just One Hour

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 20th – 26th January 2023

    Big Garden Birdwatch is the world’s largest garden wildlife survey. Every year, hundreds of thousands of nature lovers like you take part, helping to build a picture of how garden birds are faring.

    How Do I Take Part?

    • Sign up to the survey on the RSPB website here:
    • Spend 1-hour watching the birds in your patch, this can be a garden, balcony, or in your local park…
  • Hitting the ground running

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 13th January – 19th January 2024

    We may still be in the midst of winter, but our warden team and volunteers are already busy with a flurry of tasks to prepare the reserve’s habitats for the 2024 breeding season and emergence of spring wildlife.

    Giving Natterjack Toads a fighting chance

    This week, with the help of a Species on the Edge volunteer group, we cleared a large swathe of willow…

  • Waxwing Lyrical

    RSPB Mersehead Blog – 12th January – 19th January 2024

    What a wonderful start to 2024 we have had at Mersehead!  Our year began with an impressive 65 species long bird list (see last week’s blog), and this week we were fortunate enough to have a very special visitor, Waxwing.  Drier, milder weather in the last week has meant reserve staff, volunteers and visitors alike have been able to enjoy the spectacle…

  • Another Year, Another list

    RSPB Mersehead Blog - New Years Day 2024 Bird List

    Below are all the species seen, in chronological order, at RSPB Mersehead on the 1st January 2024 between 10am and 3pm.

    Barnacle Goose
    Crow
    Starling
    Rook
    Tree Sparrow
    Chaffinch
    Wren
    Shoveler
    Wigeon
    Mute Swan
    Robin
    Woodpigeon
    Bullfinch
    Song Thrush
    Lapwing
    Pintail
    Little Egret
    Pied Wagtail
    Mistle Thrush
    Collared Dove
    Curlew
    22. Linnet

    Flock of Linnet along the sand dunes.


    Blackbird
    Jackdaw
    Ma…

  • The End is Nigh

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 16th – 22nd December 2023

    The December Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) has been completed this week. Seven species of wader were recorded at the high tide point with 971 Oystercatcher, 21 Grey Plover, 221 Curlew, 3340 Dunlin, 41 Ringed Plover, 3140 Knot, 1 Sanderling and 1 Black-tailed Godwit recorded. Lapwing and Redshank have been feeding in the field directly behind the car park. Wildfowl have been…

  • A Heartfelt Thank You to Our Volunteers from a Reserve at the Heart of the Community

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 10th December – 16th December 2023

    It can be easy to assume that an RSPB reserve like Mersehead is all about the huge variety of wildlife that can be seen on or flying over the reserve.  Whilst the reserve does indeed provide a matrix of different habitats that support a variety of species, it is important that we highlight the significant contribution our volunteers play and the links and bonds…

  • The Golden Hour

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 2nd December – 9th December 2023

    Perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring times on the reserve is that last hour before sunset where everything gets bathed in a reddish hue and golden light. It’s easy to get distracted by the sunsets at this time, especially when we’re on a mission to complete our bird counts. But, every now and then we just have to stop ourselves and gaze around to appreciate the…

  • Frozen Over

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 25th November – 1st December 2023

    With temperatures dropping to -5oC on the coast it has been no surprise that layers of ice have spread across the wetlands. From Bruiach Hide, the distinctive call of Wigeon can be heard drifting across the frozen water. From the deeper pools within the reedbed, great swirling clouds of wildfowl appear in mixed flocks including Shoveler, Pintail, Teal and Mallard. The…

  • Mersehead Mammals and Marvellous Murmuration at Our Meida Hide

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 18th – 24th November 2023

    Heavy rainfall over the weekend meant water levels were high at the start of the week across the reserve.  While changing water levels across the reserve can bring challenges for our reserve team i.e., flooding issues, they ensure that the reserve provides a range of dynamic and differing habitats for our species, resident and migrant.  

    A good example of this would be the…

  • Keep your ears open for the Cetti’s Warbler

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 11th – 17th November 2023

    For our keen birders out there, you’ll be interested to know that our staff heard the loud, piercing call of the Cetti’s Warbler on Thursday at our Meida Hide whilst conducting our reserve wetland bird survey. The Cetti’s Warbler (pronounced chetty) is a shy wee bird that you’re most likely to hear before seeing. Typically, this species’ range has been Northern…

  • Reedbed Acrobatics

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 4th – 10th November 2023

    With some cold but sunny days this week, it has become really noticeable how stark and bright the reserve is in the autumnal sunlight. As the leaves fall from the trees and hedgerows it has become much easier to spot the tiny Goldcrests flitting from branch to branch. Fieldfare and Redwing are feeding on the bright red berries whilst Long-tailed tit follow each other from tree…

  • A land of plenty

    Mersehead Blog 28th October - 3rd November 2023

    Opportunities for you

    Saturday saw the first session with our new Forest School teacher.  We are really grateful Ed has picked up the reins (or should that be rain this week...?!) to keep Forest School running here and it was great to see some of our regular families returning to support him.  Forest School is a great way to learn how to toast marshmallows over your own fire…

  • Banqueting Badgers pass the Baton onto Berry Loving Thrushes

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 21st – 27th October 2023

    The week began with the final in our series of three Badger Banquets, run as part of the #WildGooseFestival2023.  Once more spectators were treated to a fine display of foraging from four of our resident friends.  Overall, the events have proven hugely popular with all three selling out.

    The badgers were not the only species dining out this week.  The fruiting Hawthorn in…

  • Close encounters of the wild kind

    RSPB Mersehead Blog 14th – 20th October 2023

    Badgers and wintering wildfowl galore

    We kicked off this week with perfect conditions for an evening to enjoy a Badger Banquet, an event where visitors get an up-close, exclusive viewing of our residential Badgers from the comfort of the Sulwath Centre. This ticketed event is part of the region’s #WildGooseFestival2023.

    A few badgers showed up in all their black…