• 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
  • 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