• Water off a duck's back

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 16th – 22nd January 2021

    Although a varied week weather wise, and with its fair share of rain, the sun came out to greet us these past couple of days. The setting sun cast a rosy hue over the reserve on Thursday evening.

    Sunset looking South West. Photo Credit: B. Taylor

    The week started with the Wetland Birds Survey across the Mersehead reserve with an exciting total of 11,608…

    • 22 Jan 2021
  • You don't have to look too hard

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 9th – 15th January 2021

    There has been a noticeable change in the weather this week.  The bright, crisp, dry winter days that we have been spoilt with so far this month were replaced with wet, cloud covered skies.  Official sources inform me that Thursday was the wettest day, with 22mm of rain falling, and Tuesday was definitely the best day for capturing the brilliant big blue sky…

    • 15 Jan 2021
  • Winter is Here

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 1st – 8th January 2021

    With temperatures forecast to reach -7oC tonight, winter has finally arrived in Dumfries & Galloway. Throughout the Christmas break, the weather was bright, sunny and cold with a hard frost most mornings. There were many spectacular sunsets.

    Twilight over the Mersehead sandflats. Photo credit: R.Flavelle

    Fiery Sunset. Photo credit: G.Chambers

    It was the…

    • 8 Jan 2021
  • Mersehead 1st January 2021 Bird Race

    A 6-hour walk around the reserve today to list all the species we could find on the first day of 2021. The list below is in the order recorded.

    1. Carrion Crow
    2. Yellowhammer
    3. Dunnock
    4. Blue Tit
    5. Coal Tit
    6. Barnacle Goose
    7. Tree Sparrow
    8. Robin
    9. Rook
    10. Chaffinch
    11. Greenfinch
    12. House Sparrow
    13. Blackbird
    14. Kestrel
    15. Starling
    16. Wood Pigeon
    17. Feral Pigeon
    18. Little Egret


     Little Egret in Flight. Photo credit: G.Chambers

    1. Mute Swan
    2. Wren
    3. Jackdaw
    4. Grey Her…
    • 1 Jan 2021
  • It may be dreich now, but the future is looking much brighter

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 12th December - 18th December 2020

    dreich adjective


    depressing, miserable or cold

    It turns out there are a lot of Scottish words for describing the weather, and dreich is one that perfectly encapsulates the conditions at Mersehead during a week that has been characterised by perpetual gloom, strong winds, and lots of rain (not always heavy but often persistent).

    The week started…

    • 18 Dec 2020
  • Drawn to Dusk

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 5th December - 11th December 2020

    All too often we tend to rely on our eyesight to explore the world we live in. It’s sad to think that people only believe what they see but in truth, much more is out there. We just need to discover it.


    Even at this ‘quieter’ time of year, there is plenty to find here on the reserve and especially at that ‘quieter’ time of the day, around dusk.…

    • 11 Dec 2020
  • The Year is 1992, oh . . . & I saw a Crocodile on the Beach Today

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 28th November – 4th December 2020

    What a week for changeable weather. The reserve has seen bright sunlight days, the first sleet (not quite snow) and temperatures ranging from minus one to eleven. Monday was the perfect day to head over to RSPB Kirkconnell Merse – at just over 200ha this is one of the largest expanses of saltmarsh in Southern Scotland and holds a good breeding population…

    • 4 Dec 2020
  • ‘Sometimes I heard the song of the swan, seized gladness in the cry of the gannet and the sound of the curlew’ – The Seafarer

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 21st – 27th November 2020

    It’s definitely feeling more like winter this week, with frosty mornings and the bright sun lending a magical quality to the reserve. As the work day starts with the sunrise, the low light captures Roe Deer and Hare in their morning routines. During the gorgeously sunny weekend, before the rain came, a dozen Fieldfare were seen high up in the woodland…

    • 27 Nov 2020
  • “I am forever chasing light “. Light changes the ordinary into the magical! – Trent Parke

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings: 14th November – 20th November 2020

    It’s been another rather unsettled weather week at RSPB Mersehead, but it did provide some wonderful wildlife moments and opportunity to experience the full ravages of the stormy seas.  With all these changeable conditions, it has been a week of contrasting colours from dark and gloomy, to grey and murky but finally on Thursday, the sun came…

    • 20 Nov 2020
  • Top of the Moths

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 7th November - 13th November 2020

    It is the time of year when the sun rises and sets in time with the working day, which makes me feel particularly fortunate that I spend most of the daylight hours outdoors.  Sometimes the weather can make this not feel ideal, and with yellow warnings for rain issued this week it seemed planning for reed cutting, livestock fencing repairs and a volunteer beach…

    • 13 Nov 2020
  • Reflections on a Wetland

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 31st October - 6th November 2020

    The wetlands on reserve are now full, with expected water levels and a bounty of waterfowl on show. Both hides have now been open for a few weeks, to view, enjoy and maybe reflect on this celebration of nature. We do still ask users to follow measures put in place - for everyone’s safety and well-being!

    We’ve had a mixed week for weather, from rain to sunshine…

    • 6 Nov 2020
  • The Wonders of Nature through the eyes of a Wildlife Explorer !

    Hi, my name is Emily, I am 11 years old. I love nature and care about the environment. This blog is about my stays at RSPB Mersehead reserve from this year and last year too.

    Sadly, due to COVID-19 I haven’t been able to help with the volunteering jobs, but I still did a lot and we (my family) did lots of things by ourselves. 

    Last year when we arrived it was quite sunny which was a good thing. This year however…

    • 4 Nov 2020
  • Polypore?

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 24th – 30th October 2020

    The Autumn colours have been stunning on the clear bright days this week. The hedgerows are brimming with dark red berries which flocks of hungry Redwing and Fieldfare and a smattering of Mistle Thrush have been devouring. Listen out for the high-pitched call of the Goldcrest, as the leaves fall this tiny bird becomes much easier to spot. Chiffchaff was heard…

    • 30 Oct 2020
  • “For man, Autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad “… Edwin Way Teale.

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings: 17th October – 23rdth October 2020

    A mix bag of weather during the week has brought a variety of bird species in across the reserve. The wardens, plus residential volunteer Beth were up early on Sunday to complete the wetland bird survey with a variety of species on the high tide wader roost including Curlew, Dunlin, Knot, Redshank, Grey and Ringed Plover in good numbers.  The wetlands…

    • 23 Oct 2020
  • Red sky in the morning

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 10th October - 16th October 2020

    The advantage of the shortening October days is that you don’t have to get up particularly early to appreciate an awe inspiring sunrise.  This is made all the more special by the opportunity to witness thousands of Barnacle Geese fly across the red bleached sky, as they make the short journey from mudflat roosts on the Solway Estuary to daytime feeding grounds…

    • 16 Oct 2020
  • Wetted up and starting to fill!

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 3rd October - 9th October 2020

    Thousands of geese have been seen, roosting on the mud and sandflats, including pink-footed and Svalbard barnacle geese and lesser numbers of Canada and greylag geese. On Monday, over 9,500 barnacle geese were counted on the reserve (mostly in fields at West Preston). One leucistic barnacle goose (lacking pigment, thus appearing whitish in colour) was found to be…

    • 9 Oct 2020
  • Chicken of the Woods

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 26th September – 2nd October 2020

    What an amazing start to the day! Early morning mist and a slight frost cloaked the wetlands. The high-pitched peep of a Kingfisher revealed its presence as it zoomed into view and perched on a log. Wigeon could be heard whistling on the newly flooded wetland habitats which were also teeming with Mallard, Teal and Shoveler. A small group of Pinta…

    • 2 Oct 2020
  • “Autumn is a second Spring, when every leaf is a flower “…. Albert Camus

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings: 19th September – 25th September 2020

    4 seasons in one week? It could only be at RSPB Mersehead! It has been a very changeable seven days, from beautiful warm sunshine over the weekend, to high winds, rain and dipping temperatures.   The Autumn equinox on the 22nd September has signalled the start of a new season but the wildlife on the site is showing no signs of disappearing from…

    • 25 Sep 2020
  • What's that coming over Criffel?

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 12th September - 18th September 2020

    A calm and settled start to the week brought pleasant relief from the relentless winds that swept across the reserve over the weekend.  With the temperature rising and the sun making a welcome return, conditions were just right to conduct a survey of the butterflies and bees that have made Mersehead their home over the summer.  Walking the fixed transect, which…

    • 18 Sep 2020
  • Social gatherings, with restrictions

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 5th September - 11th September 2020


    There are exciting times ahead, with one season closing as the next begins. Last week, there were plenty sightings of birds passing through, like wheatears and stonechats. We still had a good number of swallows on reserve and more activity in terms of winter waterfowl passing through. This week has seen a change and winter is certainly on the way.


    • 11 Sep 2020
  • Footprints in the Sand

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 29th August – 4th September 2020

    September has arrived and signs of autumn are appearing. The nights are noticeably drawing in, the leaves are turning golden and birds are flocking together. In September, we start conducting the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) again after a break during the breeding season. This monitoring scheme for non-breeding waterbirds in the UK aims to assess the…

    • 4 Sep 2020
  • Changing of the Guard

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 22nd – 28th August 2020

    It has been a week where the weather has stolen the show at Mersehead.  First Storm Ellen peaked on Friday, with gale force winds combined with a 9m tide sending waves crashing into the sand dunes, and led to the southern half of the salt marsh and Rainbow Lane being submerged.  Heavy and unpredictable showers over the weekend then culminated in over 30mm of…

    • 28 Aug 2020
  • Reaping the harvest

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 15th – 21st August 2020

    August is always a busy month for farming and natural productivity in the high summer. Hay was finally gathered before wet weather set in, with most getting lifted last weekend. In total, 190 round bales were rolled out and most were taken into the sheds. Our Tuesday Volunteers helped to prepare the hay sheds in advance, and everything was good to go (as soon…

    • 21 Aug 2020
  • Dance of the Thousand Bales

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 8th – 14th August 2020

    A key component of the Barnacle Goose management on the reserve is hay making. By removing the grass from the field, we can ensure the vegetation is nutrient-rich and lush, just what the barnacle geese need after their 2000-mile migration from Svalbard.

    Making Hay. Photo credit: R.Flavelle

    It can be quite tense hay making in Scotland as you need at least a…

    • 14 Aug 2020
  • While the Sun Shines

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 1st August – 7th August 2020

    Overall, it has been an unseasonably wet and windy start to August at Mersehead.  The unpredictability of the scattered, and occasionally heavy showers at the weekend was followed by more certainty in the first half of the week.  High winds and long periods of persistent rain leading to flooding, and limited opportunities to fully appreciate and enjoy Mersehead…

    • 7 Aug 2020