• Migration Magic

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 5th- 11th October

    It was another wet start to the week with the reserve entrance road again flooding on Saturday and meaning wellies were still an essential requirement when visiting the hides. However, it did mean that there was a lot of water around on the reserve attracting lots of birds in. A large flash that formed in one of the fields along Rainbow Lane was holding over 1000 birds on most…

    • 11 Oct 2019
  • It’s not just geese flooding into Mersehead!

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 28th September – 4th October 2019

    The barnies are back! (photo credit: RSPB Scotland)

    It’s been a wet week at the reserve, with the access road being badly flooded for much of the week. An increasing problem faced is that we must close when the access road floods. But that said, winds from the north have assisted our winter visitors from the Arctic. Barnacle Geese numbers continue…

    • 4 Oct 2019
  • The Smallest Falcon

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 21st – 27th September 2019

    The Barnacle Geese have started returning to the Solway this week with 305 counted on the sandflats on Wednesday morning. A White-fronted Goose was spotted amongst them. Pink-footed goose numbers have continued to increase with 3000 feeding in the stubble field.

    The first Barnacle Geese to return to Mersehead. Photo Credit: Dave Jackson.

    Overwinter stubble is…

    • 27 Sep 2019
  • On the Up

    RSPB Mersehead recent sightings 14th-20th September 2019

    It feels like the reserve is really starting to come alive again as the number of geese, ducks and waders continue to increase.  Pink-footed Geese have definitely stolen the show this week as groups up to 800 strong have been spotted feeding around the reserve mainly out on the wetlands and in the fields past the woodland.  The best time to see the ‘pinkies’ is early…

    • 20 Sep 2019
  • Burger Banquet

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 7th – 13th September 2019

    This week at Mersehead we had a BBQ to say thank you to our volunteers for all their hard work. It was a nice chance to get staff and all the volunteers together, as usual with enough burgers and pudding to feed an army.

    Volunteer thank you BBQ. Photo credit: D. Jackson

    Moth numbers continue to decline with the cool nights. Last night’s minimum temperature…

    • 13 Sep 2019
  • Icelandic Voyagers Return

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 31st August – 6th September 2019

    There is a sudden Autumnal feeling at Mersehead with overnight temperatures dropping to single figures with a minimum of 5oC recorded. The hedgerows are bursting with bright scarlet berries on the Hawthorn and Rowan trees which will provide a fantastic food source for returning winter migrants. The English Oak is heaving with acorns at Meida Hide. Most…

    • 6 Sep 2019
  • Passing Through

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 24th- 30th August 2019

    The fine weather over the weekend and at the beginning of the week kicked off some migration which was evident around the reserve. Tree Pipit were seen heading over the reserve on most days; these birds are usually found breeding in open woodland, heathland and scrub but this is the peak time to see them migrating south to Africa for the winter. They are often conspicuous…

    • 30 Aug 2019
  • Blowing a Gale

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 17th- 23rd August 2019

    Those brave enough to face the wet and windy weather have had some great spots this week. One of the star species this week has been a Spotted Flycatcher, which was seen along the woodland trail towards Meida hide. The Spotted Flycatcher perches in open spaces to get a good view of flying invertebrates to catch. Also spotted along the woodland trail to Meida hide was a…

    • 23 Aug 2019
  • Open the Floodgates

    Mersehead Recent sightings 5th August to 15th August 2019

    This was our first time volunteering at Mersehead reserve having done a couple of stints at South Stack on Anglesey in previous years.  We certainly brought the weather with us and we had several days of downpours.  The “wetlands” became even wetter and unfortunately the reserve had to close over the weekend due to a flooded access road.  It was a new…

    • 16 Aug 2019
  • Leaf Cutters

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 3rd – 9th August 2019

    Sitting in the hides at Mersehead you may wonder where all the water has gone especially with the recent torrential rainfall. To provide the best breeding and wintering conditions for a variety of wildlife, wet grassland must be actively managed. If left alone, succession will occur; grassland becomes dominated by taller, courser species such as rush, which then succeeds…

    • 9 Aug 2019
  • Painted Profusion

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 27th July - 2nd August 2019

    Butterflies were out in force again on our weekly butterfly transect, enjoying afternoon temperatures of 24°C. Painted Lady were the most abundant, with 78 recorded in the Butterfly Garden alone. Peacock, Meadow Brown, Large and Green-veined White and 6 Spot Burnet Moth were also present, it is well worth spending some time there. Wall Brown are most prevalent…

    • 2 Aug 2019
  • Moth Madness

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 20th – 26th July 2019

    This week started with the reserve having to be closed as the heavy rain on Sunday caused the entrance road to flood. The flood only lasted a day as the water disappeared completely overnight. Which then lead to the hottest day of the year, it was 28°c at Mersehead on Thursday.

    Tuesday saw our usual local volunteers coming down to help for the morning. Our volunteers…

    • 26 Jul 2019
  • If It Wasnae Fur Yer Wellies

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 13th - 19th July 2019

    I’m back – not in Arnie style but I’m glad to say, I’m back at RSPB Mersehead for another two weeks of residential volunteering. It’s been three years since I was last here and while some things have changed (there’s a butterfly meadow), much remains the same.

    I’m half way through my second week and am on a rain break as pulling weeds…

    • 19 Jul 2019
  • Make Hay While the Sun Shines

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 6th – 12th July 2019

    With high pressure and temperatures of 20oC forecast for the next couple of weeks, the hay mower has been retrieved from the depths of the machinery shed and the first 20-acre field cut. We still have a further 22-acres to cut over the weekend. The fields are always cut from inside to out to ensure any wildlife can move safely away from the tractor. Today’s job was…

    • 12 Jul 2019
  • Marvellous Moths and Meadows

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 29th June-5th July 2019

    This week we were out on the wetlands carrying out fences checks in preparation for the arrival of cattle to carry out some essential grazing. Cattle will graze on the grassy areas and open them up to allow establishment of new plants, creating a mosaic of vegetation much like in the picture below. Species found in our meadow include White Clover, Yellow Rattle, Common…

    • 5 Jul 2019
  • The Heat is on

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 22nd - 28th June 2019

    This week has been a warm week with daily temperatures reaching over 20°! We are feeling the heat on the reserve, however thankfully not 40° like Europe. The warm temperatures seem to have awaken the Painted Lady Butterflies, you can see them all over the reserve, particularly near the coast on the yellow flowering plant, Sea Radish. Painted lady butterflies are…

    • 28 Jun 2019
  • The Tiger and the Pottinger

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 15th – 21st June 2019

    The merse (saltmarsh) is currently brimming with colour and sound. Ragged Robin and Lesser Spearwort are in flower whilst overhead the Skylark’s distinctive song can be heard from every corner. We have been out inspecting and repairing the livestock fence along the merse and sand dunes this week in readiness for the cattle. With the warm weather there were plenty…

    • 21 Jun 2019
  • Buzz Around Town

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 8th-14th June 2019

    Sightings from our visitors this week include Whitethroat, Linnet, Sand Martin, House Martin and Swallow. A Sparrow Hawk appeared right outside the visitor centre window, perched near the hanging feeders. Needless to say, all the usual House Sparrows and Gold Finches disappeared from sight. A Reed Bunting was also spotted perched on a fence post along Rainbow lane (the path…

    • 14 Jun 2019
  • Baby Boom

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 1st – 7th June 2019

    With the recent bouts of heavy rain over the last week or so the Natterjack pools have started to fill up again.  Natterjack Toad have an extended breeding season precisely for this reason; if the shallow breeding pools dry out early in the spring due to a lack of rain (as happened to some on the reserve this year), they are able to take advantage of the freshly filled…

    • 7 Jun 2019
  • Pink Elephant

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 25th - 31st May 2019

    Reserve work this week has focused on preparing the two 1ha Wild bird cover plots. Both areas have been ploughed, cultivated and the Oats and Sunflower seeds drilled into the ground. Just as the small seed spreader was being attached to the tractor, the heavy rain forecast for later in the afternoon arrived early and unfortunately prevented the work being completed. Over…

    • 31 May 2019
  • Babies Galore

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 18th - 24th May 2019

    This week has seen the start of many babies emerging on Mersehead. Lapwing chicks are off to a strong start as egg predation has been relatively low. There have been around 23 chicks counted inside our anti-predator fence (built to keep ground predators such as badgers and foxes away from ground nests) and more elsewhere over the reserve. A Leveret (baby Hare) was flushed…

    • 24 May 2019
  • The New Arrivals Continue...

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 11th- 17th May 2019

    The latest new arrival to the reserve this week was a Spotted Flycatcher, a red-listed species of conservation concern due to the dramatic decline in their population (87% since 1970). The latest research is suggesting that first year mortality is high and that this may be driving the declines. This could be due to poor-quality breeding habitat and/or habitat loss either…

    • 17 May 2019
  • 3rd for Scotland

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 4th – 10th May 2019

    It has been a cold week with night-time temperatures dipping to 1oC making it a slow Natterjack Toad season. Natterjack toads require a constant night-time temperature of a least 9oC to spawn. So far this spring we have found 32 spawn strings. The spawn development has been slow as the water temperature has been cold which can make the spawn vulnerable to developing…

    • 10 May 2019
  • Spring has Sprung

    Mersehead recent sightings 27th April - 3rd May 

    This week we undertook our 2nd Natterjack toad survey of the year. With a relatively mild evening temperature, little wind and light drizzle, it seemed the perfect conditions for Natterjack activity. However, there was only 31 adults found across the site. This is a drop from the 81 adults found 2 weeks prior. The number of toad spawn found are increasing as the days progress…

    • 3 May 2019
  • Surveys Galore!

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 20th – 26th April

    This week, we undertook the first Water Rail survey of the season. These birds are incredibly illusive, and despite recording at least 12 individuals in the reedbed, they are rarely seen from the hides. The survey (like most) involves a very early start; two people head out into the reedbed and stand 20 metres apart. Then, we play the “squealing pig” call that the Water…

    • 26 Apr 2019