• A charm of finches

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 13th-19th October

    A Busy week counting birds comes to an end at Mersehead as we had our 3rd coordinated Barnacle Goose survey as well as the 2nd Wetland bird survey and our first Winter Passerine Survey of the season!

    We could not have asked for a better autumn day on Monday to record the number of Barnies, ducks and waders here on the reserve. A further 1200 barnacle geese have arrived…

    • 19 Oct 2018
  • Mini-Murmurations

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 6th – 12th October 2018

    It’s wild and windy at Mersehead today as Storm Calum hits the reserve. Very different to the last couple of days when temperatures have reached a balmy 23oC and Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies have been on the wing.

    Barnacle goose numbers are increasing across the reserve with the weekly count reaching 7,261. An increase from 3,812 last week. It…

    • 12 Oct 2018
  • Birds of a feather flock together

    RSPB Mersehead Recent sightings: 29th September – 5th October 2018

    Autumn feasting is very much on the cards for our feathered friends at this time, with many flocks gathering along our hedgerows and trails. Around 30 greenfinches were spotted on the way to Bruaich Hide, stocking up on rose hips. A parcel of 40 linnets and trembling of 15 chaffinches could be seen in fields and by the woodland. Great spotted wo…

    • 5 Oct 2018
  • They're back!

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 22nd – 28th September

    The biggest news of the week here at Mersehead has been the arrival of the Svalbard Barnacle Geese on Tuesday morning when 38 birds dropped into the wetland. This is 13 days earlier than last year but is not anything unusual; birds can arrive anytime from late September onwards depending on the weather in the Arctic, prevailing winds, feeding conditions elsewhere…

    • 28 Sep 2018
  • ‘We shall fight on the beaches’………

    An amazing effort from over 70 folk of all ages came and helped out on the Great British Beach Clean at RSPB Mersehead on Sunday 16th Sept working with the gallant ‘Dumfries and Galloway Eco-Warriors’.

    Photo D&G Eco Eco-Warriors

    Over a trailer full of rubbish was collected. Much of this was plastic ranging from bottle tops to wheelie bins! A big thanks the D&G Eco Warriors and to everyone else who helped…

    • 21 Sep 2018
  • Turning of the Tide

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 8th – 14th September 2018

    What an exciting time of year! Summer is just gripping on and yet change is happening. It’s one of the reasons I love this reserve so much, as it is never quiet but bustling with wildlife (you just need to know where to look).

    The first arrivals of geese have begun, though no barnacle geese yet. The next couple of weeks could see the first of these…

    • 14 Sep 2018
  • The Last Bales of Summer

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 1st – 7th September 2018

    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 size of…

    • 7 Sep 2018
  • Gatherings

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 25th- 31st August 2018

    There’s been a definite chill in the air this week; summer may finally be on its way out. This is an exciting time of year for wildlife watching though. Lots of species, especially birds, are starting to move as they leave their breeding grounds and begin their journey to the area where they will spend the winter months. A mixture of adult and juvenile Swallows…

    • 31 Aug 2018
  • Sometimes it's the little things...

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 18th - 24th August 2018

    Mersehead is so full of wildlife that even while out working in a tractor there are interesting discoveries to be made! This week our Assistant Warden Lana found a Water Ladybird (a.k.a. 19-Spot Ladybird) getting a free ride on hers. Ladybirds are a sub-species of the beetle family (Coleoptera), for which there are two defining characteristics: hard forewings covering…

    • 24 Aug 2018
  • A Charm of Goldfinch

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 11th – 17th August 2018

    With the drought finally coming to an end at Mersehead we been experiencing sudden, sharp and heavy downpours throughout the week. The vegetation has immediately sprung back into life and the reserve has returned to emerald rather than parched brown. The Butterfly Meadow is full of Common Knapweed which is now being to set seed. This is a fantastic food source…

    • 17 Aug 2018
  • A Month at Mersehead

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 4th - 10th August 2018

    Residential Volunteering: Highlights

    After 1 month as a residential volunteer at Mersehead, I have not only learned a multitude of new skills and got to have so many valuable experiences, but I have seen more wildlife than I ever could have imagined! On my first day exploring the reserve I soon came across a group of juvenile stonechats, several common toadlets…

    • 10 Aug 2018
  • A splash of colour

    RSPB Mersehead recent sightings 28th July – 3rd August

    It’s been a changeable week weather- wise here at Mersehead. Sunny skies have been mixed with dreich spells and heavy bouts of rain. To counter the grey spells we’ve been experiencing and to remind us that summer is still well and truly here, our wild bird cover has really come alive and is currently a mass of bright yellow sunflowers, mustard, linseed, white…

    • 3 Aug 2018
  • A bit of Botany

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 21st – 27th July 2018

    We were joined by the Kirkcudbrightshire vice-county plant recorder this week and searched the merse for the presence of the regionally scarce species listed on the reserve. The extremely beautiful metallic blue Sea Holly can only be found on a handful of sites along the Dumfries & Galloway coast and was very popular with the Six-spot Burnt Moth this week…

    • 27 Jul 2018
  • Enjoying the summer but looking ahead…

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 14th - 20th July 2018

    It’s hard to imagine in this hot July weather, but work is already in progress here at Mersehead to prepare for autumn and the arrival of wintering bird populations. Hay has been baled, and grazing cattle are helping to control invasive species in the grassland, wetland and salt marsh areas of the reserve. This helps to ensure suitable nesting sites for waders, and…

    • 20 Jul 2018
  • True Lover's Knot

    Mersehead Recent Sightings Blog 7th-13th July

    It’s been another hot and sunny week again here at Mersehead. Despite the slightly parched looking fields, on closer inspection there is still plenty of colour about in the form of wildflowers and butterflies.  Arguably the most striking plant out at the moment is Rosebay Willowherb, growing up to 120cm in height with a tall spike of bright pink flowers, this species…

    • 13 Jul 2018
  • Make hay, while the sun shines

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 30th June – 6th July 2018

    With this fantastic dry spell of weather, it’s a perfect time to get out and explore for butterflies and day-flying moths on the reserve. Plenty of small whites, meadow browns and ringlets have been fluttering back and forth along trail verges. “Thousands” (at least, according to one visitor) of six-spot burnet moths, as well as common…

    • 6 Jul 2018
  • Curlew, Clegs and the return of the Admiral

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 23rd - 29th June 2018

    Here’s what’s been happening in a scorching hot week here at Mersehead…

    Last week we reported that some of our house martins had been forcibly evicted from their nests by house sparrows. This proved to be very temporary accommodation for the sparrows however, as we arrived on Monday morning to find one of the nests shattered and its remains on…

    • 29 Jun 2018
  • Eviction

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 16th – 22nd June 2018

    Heavy rain over the weekend encouraged the Natterjack Toads to return to Pool A where we found 6 new spawn strings this week. The Natterjack toad has a prolonged breeding season running from late March to early July depending on weather conditions. With over 2,000 toadlets emerged from the pool in the dune slack and tadpoles in the ditch, we currently have all…

    • 22 Jun 2018
  • Dustbin Lid

    Mersehead Recent Sightings 9th- 15th June

    Here at Mersehead it’s been a week of two halves, with Storm Hector disrupting the sunny and warm conditions we’ve all become used to. We recorded a total of 15mm of rain overnight on Wednesday, which was much needed by the wildlife across the reserve.  Strong winds prevailed overnight and during the best part of Thursday, although thankfully the damage was minimal…

    • 15 Jun 2018
  • Construction Time at Mersehead

    This week has seen much activity at the Mersehead office, and not just inside! The air has been alive with House Martins for the last few days, who have been busily building nests on the walls of the Sulwath Centre. The nests are built of mud mixed with grass, and lined with plant fibres. House Martins are colonial nesters, so it remains to be seen how many nests there will be in total, but it could be five or more.

    • 8 Jun 2018
  • Hot and Sunny

    Recent sightings 26th May - 1st June

    We have experienced yet another week of glorious sunshine and high temperatures. The fine weather has been assisting the birds and wildlife as they look for food to feed their broods.  Over the week we have seen the arrival of more house martins, watching them dart back and forth, listening to them chattering away, as they get to work collecting mud to construct their nests.


    • 1 Jun 2018
  • Free water

    Hello everybody

    As from today we will be part of the Dumfries and Galloway refill scheme. As part of our first stages in reducing the use of plastics we will not be selling plastic bottled water anymore. Please read the detail of the scheme here-  https://www.refill.org.uk/refill-scheme/refill-dumfries-galloway/

    We will however be providing free water to all - jugs of water will be on hand as well as glasses and stainless…

    • 29 May 2018
  • Growing up

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 19th – 25th May

    Yet again, it’s been another beautifully sunny week here at Mersehead and as usual there’s a lot going on around the reserve. Most of our Lapwings are now with chicks, with just a few pairs still sitting on eggs. Lapwing chicks are precocial, meaning that they are born ready to go! After drying off after hatching, a chick is able to feed itself straight…

    • 26 May 2018
  • Chilly Nights

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 12th – 18th May

    It has been a glorious sunny week at Mersehead with temperatures reaching as high as 20oC. Butterflies can be seen in every direction with Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange-tip and Green Veined White all present in large numbers. On Saturday a Speckled Wood was spotted along the path to Meida Hide. In Scotland, the Speckled Wood is mainly confined to the far west…

    • 18 May 2018
  • Spring in full swing

    RSPB Mersehead Recent Sightings 5th - 11th May 2018


    The weekend finally saw some warm sunny weather at Mersehead, drawing lots of visitors to the reserve on Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday. Inevitably, this was not to last, with cooler temperatures returning later in the week.


    An exciting discovery this week was the first Lapwing chicks of the season, all being well the first of many. Many of the lapwing nests are…

    • 11 May 2018