• Having a Natter

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 13th – 19th April 2019

    With overnight temperatures dipping as low as -2oC during the last few weeks we have seen a delayed start to the Natterjack Toad season at Mersehead. Natterjacks are fussy amphibians requiring a constant air temperature of at least 7oC throughout the night. Wednesday evening was looking promising so we headed out for the first adult population survey of the year…

    • 19 Apr 2019
  • Sixth for D&G?

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 6th 12th April 2019

    Spring really sprung into action this week, as a host of summer visitors arrived. Saturday saw the first big arrival, as 8 White Wagtail and a female Wheatear were busy feeding in one of the recently ploughed fields. Out on the wetlands were another 2 White Wagtail and a single Black-tailed Godwit, and these were joined late-afternoon by an influx of hirundines;…

    • 12 Apr 2019
  • And Their Off!

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 30th March – 5th April 2019

    The Lapwing has a spectacular display flight where the male rolls, dives and somersaults through the air whilst calling to attract a potential mate and alert rival males to his presence. The lapwings at Mersehead have been displaying and setting up territories for a few weeks now and this week we have found the first nests! Each nest contains four light…

    • 5 Apr 2019
  • Heralds of Spring

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 23rd - 29th March 2019

    The short dark days of winter are all but a distant memory now. It is refreshing to think that daylight hours are now longer than the nights, and the thermometer regularly creeps up into the teens. The verges of our entrance road are adorned with gorgeous Lesser Celandines and Wood Anemones.  Often regarded as a symbol of the ‘joys to come’ the yellow hues of Lesser Celandines…

    • 29 Mar 2019
  • No winter lasts forever

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 16th- 22nd March 2019

    After the heavy rain last week water levels remain high across the reserve.  The ducks are obviously enjoying these conditions, with Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, and Pintail represented in good numbers.  Curlew have been enjoying the soft ground conditions too, allowing them to easily probe into the soil with their long, scythe-shaped bills.  Just past the…

    • 22 Mar 2019
  • A few days in the life of a residential volunteer at Mersehead

    It’s March at RSPB Mersehead. The snowdrops and daffodils are out in full force, Song Thrush practice before the mating season, and Lapwing start their aerial displays. In other words, spring is almost upon us! Just like the Barnacle Geese who will start heading back to the Svalbard in April, winter residential volunteers are preparing their outbound migration, before the summer residential volunteers arrive.


    • 20 Mar 2019
  • Too Cold for Natterjacks?

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 9th – 15th March 2019

    With 98mm of raining falling in March so far, the reserve is looking extremely wet. In some areas this is great! The Natterjack pools are full of water and with night-time temperatures warming up it may not be long until the first Natterjacks are out of hibernation. The vegetation in the wet grassland in front of the Visitor Centre has been cut with a machine operated…

    • 15 Mar 2019
  • Still feeling like May

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 2nd - 8th March 2019

    The May like weather we were experiencing last week with a bags of sunshine and temperatures nearly reaching 20 degrees carried on this week. More spring butterflies species have started to appear and we've even spotted our first swallow! Or at least this is what I wish I had to write... Instead I can confirm that everything is back to normal weather wise at Mershsead…

    • 8 Mar 2019
  • Let Nature Sing to an Orchestral Overture!

    Let Nature Sing to an Orchestral Overture!


    Join the Solway Sinfonia for an evening of music inspired by nature and bird song with proceeds going towards RSPB Scotland’s conservation work in Dumfries & Galloway.

    The Solway Sinfonia is a not for profit amateur orchestra based in Dumfries & Galloway.  Its members are drawn from the south of Scotland and north of England. The Solway Sinfonia likes (every spring…

    • 5 Mar 2019
  • Blossom and Butterflies

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 23rd February – 1st March 2019

    An unseasonably warm week here at Mersehead (and around the UK) made it feel more like mid-May than the end of February! The sunny days were full of the signs of spring, with snowdrops out in full force and daffodils and crocuses beginning to emerge, providing beautiful splashes of colour around the trails. The conditions made it much more pleasant working…

    • 1 Mar 2019
  • Supermoon

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 16th- 22nd February 2019

    As usual, the weather has been a big topic of conversation this week. Spending so much time working outside means that you always have your eyes on the weather forecast. For the most part the weekend was dry with sunny spells, although a viciously cold wind whipped in off the Solway. This wind has stayed with us for the week, bringing a distinct chill to the air…

    • 22 Feb 2019
  • Nurdle Hunting

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 9th – 15th February 2019

    After a mild week, we have woken up to a cold, crisp and bright day. The Barnacle Geese have been soaring low over the fields whilst deciding where to settle for the morning. Small dots high up, skeins of Pink-footed Geese have been migrating north, their distinctive “wink wink” call making you automatically look skyward. Early this morning, 2…

    • 15 Feb 2019
  • Wet and Windy!

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 2nd- 8th February 2019

    Clear, sunny skies and a not too cool breeze on Saturday morning saw for a flurry of sightings. Out on the Merse, viewed from Rainbow Lane, a flock of 32 Twite, their characteristic ‘tweee’ and ‘tveeiht’ (hence the name Twite!) calls alerted us to their presence. Similar in size to a Linnet, but more heavily streaked on the back, sporting a yellow bill in winter,…

    • 8 Feb 2019
  • Mersehead ice rink

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 26th January- 1st February 2019

    After a rainy start to the week, dry weather coupled with sub-zero temperatures settled in. Mersehead completely froze up and the wetlands became ice rinks for hardy ducks and waders! The absence of clouds allowed us to enjoy views of snow-capped hills, and we certainly had the best seat to admire the Lake District dressed in it’s Winter coat.


    • 1 Feb 2019
  • A Cold Snap

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 19th – 25th January 2019

    It’s been a wintry week of freezing temperatures, the odd snow flurry and the occasional afternoon of thick fog. However, there have still been sunny spells, and the frosty wetlands with a backdrop of snow dusted hills have certainly made for some beautiful mornings, accompanied by the ‘wink wink’ of huge skeins of Pink-footed Geese passing overhead…

    • 25 Jan 2019
  • Ringtails and Ravens

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 12th- 18th January 2019

    Despite a drop in temperature, this week has mainly been characterised by glorious sunny weather. The dramatic landscape of the lake district looked spectacular in this crisp, cold weather. The week started off with a sighting of 2 Mistle Thrush at the entrance of the reserve, whilst a further 4 were spotted on the main track towards the woodland on Friday. Similar…

    • 18 Jan 2019
  • Happy New Year from All at Mersehead

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 4th – 11th January 2019

    Here at Mersesead we’re all back from our Christmas break and are back into the swing of reserve life, looking forward to the year ahead. The New Year always brings the promise of spring just around the corner, but there’s still a long stretch of winter lying ahead. With dark misty days and temperatures dropping below freezing, it can leave you with the feeling of…

    • 11 Jan 2019
  • The End is Nigh

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 15th – 21st December 2018

    The weekend did not start off too well at Mersehead, as heavy rainfall flooded the road and forced us to cancel Sunday’s beach clean. Targeted beach cleans are an important way to involve people in solving the global plastic crisis. Plastics represent 60 to 80% of all marine debris, and other than being an aesthetic nuisance during our beach walks, they are a…

    • 21 Dec 2018
  • Tidal Bores

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 8th – 14th December 2018

    With just a week to go to the big HoHo, we have been beavering away to ensure certain projects are completed before the Christmas break.

    With the most successful Natterjack Toad colony in Scotland and across the RSPB found on the reserve, the focus of the winter habitat work has been ensuring ground conditions will be perfect for this amphibian in the spring…

    • 14 Dec 2018
  • A Week of Two Halves

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 1st - 7th December 2018

    The week started off with blue skies and low temperatures. Clear skies on Monday night were a perfect chance to make the most of the dark skies here at Mersehead and gaze at the stars, with the characteristic honking of a group of Whooper Swan heard flying over and a Badger was seen rootling around in the Sulwath Centre garden. Small groups of Pink-footed Geese were…

    • 7 Dec 2018
  • Keeping Count

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 24th - 30th November 2018

    This week started off very cold and crisp. Temperatures dropped to below freezing on Monday night and we woke to encounter a frosty Mersehead on Tuesday morning. With not a drop of rain since the 15th November, we were starting to forget what getting drenched felt like. However, the weather began to change on Tuesday afternoon as a low-pressure system swept up…

    • 30 Nov 2018
  • Seeing Red

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 17th – 23rd November 2018

    Prevailing easterly winds made for colder temperatures this week but the sunny skies that came with it made for good wildlife watching conditions. There have been multiple sightings of Whooper Swans; first seen on Saturday when 8 birds flew into the wetlands, then again on Wednesday, with 10 birds flying into the wetlands again as well as along the beach…

    • 23 Nov 2018
  • It's been a wet one!

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 3rd - 9th November 2018

    It‘s been a very wet week here at Mersehead… but the ducks, geese and waders have been loving it!

    On Monday we had our 5th Wetland Bird Survey of the season with great numbers of ducks feeding in front of the hides, and in the flooded field just past the woodland trail. 479 teal were counted, as well as 541 pintail, 400 of which flew in just as we were…

    • 16 Nov 2018
  • Zero

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 27th October – 2nd November 2018

    A cold and frosty morning with temperatures dipping below zero. Initially, all is quiet on the reserve, then gradually the volume increases starting with Pink-footed Geese leaving the roost on the sandflats and heading out over Portling Hill. The Barnacle Geese are not far behind as they too leave the safety of their evening roost and land on the…

    • 2 Nov 2018
  • From birds to Butterflies

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 20th – 26th October

    The week started off with a flurry of good sightings when, on Monday, a 1st winter Marsh Harrier was seen hunting over the wetlands from Bruaich Hide, whilst from Meida Hide a Sparrowhawk and Merlin were both sighted over the reedbed as well as 1 lonely Whooper Swan, who briefly stopped in before carrying on its journey. The winter visitors keep on arriving as…

    • 27 Oct 2018