• Harriers, owls and dolphins!

    Autumn has really struck the Mull of Galloway this past week. Strong chilly winds and frequent showers interspersed with warm sunshine and gentle breezes has led to a real mix of conditions. Autumn has also been marked by the increase in migrating birds passing through or over the reserve.

    Early visitors to the Mull of Galloway can be treated to large numbers of swallow, house martin, pied wagtail and meadow pipits passing…

    • 17 Sep 2018
  • Blast off!

    One of the most iconic features of the Mull of Galloway is its foghorn, last used as a navigational aid in 1987 but who’s platform provides a fantastic spot to stand and take in the spectacular views out towards Isle of Man, Ireland and on clear days, the Cumbrian coast whilst listening to the sounds of the sea and the birds calling from all around during the hectic breeding season.

     

    Mull of Galloway foghorn

    • 15 Aug 2018
  • First to go

    The cliffs at Mull of Galloway have become somewhat quieter over the past couple of weeks with the razorbill and guillemot departing to spend the next 7 months at sea before returning next spring. There is still plenty of noise to be heard though from the kittiwake rearing their young which are now on average around 4 weeks old with some chicks beginning to exercise their wings in order to build up flight muscles in readiness…

    • 7 Aug 2018
  • Residential Volunteering at Mull of Galloway

    Having just completed two amazing weeks volunteering at the RSPB Mull of Galloway reserve, I am suffering from withdrawal symptoms from the diversity of wildlife, wonderful land- and sky-scapes and sea air! It is a very special place - small but perfectly formed, made even better by the fine weather while we were there. I volunteered with a friend, and the wardens, Rob and Dave, made us feel very welcome and Rob gave…

    • 23 Jul 2018
  • In the gannet guano

    Earlier this month I visited the Scar Rocks with 3 other members of the North Solway Ringing Group. We try to visit this 1 hectare outcrop of the Mull of Galloway reserve every year to ring young gannets, but don’t always manage it due to weather and sea conditions. The Scars are about 15 miles from the small harbour at the Isle of Whithorn, which is where we usually leave from, courtesy of the Newton Stewart sub-aqua…

    • 20 Jul 2018
  • Who you calling a weed??

    The nature reserve at Mull of Galloway is currently home to an abundance of thistles including marsh thistle, creeping thistle and spear thistle. Often thought of as weeds and the scourge of farmers and gardeners these plants, as well as being attractive and of course, the national flower of Scotland, play an important role in supporting much of our wildlife. Whilst in flower here at RSPB Mull of Galloway many insects can…
    • 15 Jul 2018
  • Creating a buzz!

    The weather at Mull of Galloway has been glorious this past while, with gentle, cooling breezes coming of the sea, clear skies and wall to wall sunshine. This has had an impact on the insects that we have been seeing, with a big increase in the number and variety of species buzzing and fluttering around the reserve. Butterflies such as common blue, red admiral, wall brown, meadow brown, painted lady and grayling have

    • 4 Jul 2018
  • The emotional wringer of a nature enthusiast

    Having the privilege of working at such a beautiful setting as RSPB Mull of Galloway, surrounded by a diverse mix of wildlife set amongst wonderful seascapes, rugged cliffs and the rolling fields of the south Rhinns of Dumfries and Galloway I often count myself very lucky indeed. Frequently I arrive at work early, before the footfall of the general public begins its pitter-patter around the reserve. On many of these early…

    • 27 Jun 2018
  • A Frenzy of Fledglings

    This week has seen an abundance of fledglings from many different species at RSPB Mull of Galloway including meadow pipit, rock pipit, linnet, goldfinch, wheatear, pied wagtail, swallow and shag.

    Fledgling goldfinch

    Fledgling wheatear

    Fledgling pied wagtail

    And it’s not just the birds that are with youngsters, a roe deer with fawn was seen early one day outside the visitor centre as staff arrived.

    • 25 Jun 2018
  • Not so Auk-ward

    There are four members of the Auk family that can be seen at the Mull of Galloway, guillemot, black guillemot, razorbill and puffin. The first three all breed here with puffin frequently being seen during late May and June feeding just offshore.

    Puffin with their bright colourful beaks are easy to identify when seen up close, but at a distance can be a bit trickier. Puffin are a lot smaller than other Auks and have white…

    • 24 Jun 2018
  • A day trip to remember, World Oceans Day, changeable weather and a visit from a magician

    Wednesday 6th June – I had jumped at the chance of a day trip out to Ailsa Craig, one of the RSPB’s reserves in this part of the world. Rob unfortunately was unable to go, and offered me his seat. I was hoping to see my very first live puffin, but the day prior to the trip, on a wildflower wander guided walk around the Mull of Galloway reserve with Richard, the curator of Logan Botanic Garden, I spotted 2 puffin on the…

    • 18 Jun 2018
  • Better Late Than Never!

    On Saturday (June 9th) we saw our first kittiwake egg of the year. This is more than a week later than 2017 (May 31st) and more than two weeks later than 2016 (May 24th). Kittiwake build their nests on steep cliff faces, most often on narrow ledges. The nest is made of seaweed, grass and soil which the kittiwake will trample in to a deep bowl shape. They will often soil on their nest which may help to cement it together…

    • 10 Jun 2018
  • Free Wildflower Guided Walk

    June is a spectacular time of the year at RSPB Mull of Galloway for many reasons. One of the most noticeable is the diverse and vibrant mix of wildflowers that are currently in bloom.

    Thrift (Armeria maritime), or sea pink as it’s sometimes called, grows all along the cliff edges. It’s a perennial plant, growing in low clumps and sending up long stems that support globes of bright pink flowers that can be seen flowering…

    • 4 Jun 2018
  • First footsteps on Mull of Galloway leave lasting impressions -

    Having spent 2 seasons on the idyllic Isle of Islay, I arrived on the Mull of Galloway not knowing what to expect, my first visit to Dumfries and Galloway and only the second region in which I have worked for the RSPB. Whilst on Islay, I embarked on a passionate love/hate relationship with The Oa. Just to reassure you, as time ticked on, it tended to love more than hate, because the more time you spend with The Oa, the…

    • 28 May 2018
  • Sunshine at last!

    The weather has vastly improved over the last two weeks with long spells of sunshine. This has made a big difference to the wildlife that can be seen around the reserve.

    Both meadow pipit and rock pipit have been seen carrying food, a sure sign they are feeding young. A whitethroat has been very vocal, singing at various locations around the reserve including the walled garden and around the willow bushes. In the willows…

    • 21 May 2018
  • Redpoll!

    This week’s highlight for me was the arrival of two lesser redpoll that spent a lot of time enjoying the sunflower seeds at our feeding station. Lesser redpoll are generally winter visitors to this part of Dumfries and Galloway so a rather unexpected sighting at the Mull of Galloway in May. Other visitors to our feeding station include a pied wagtail and up to nine goldfinch.

     

    Lesser redpoll – photo credit: Rob…

    • 7 May 2018
  • Migrants arrive on the Mull

    It’s been a busy couple of weeks at the Mull of Galloway with big variations in the weather. Last week we had thick fog for days with visibility down to less than 50 metres at times. Today the sky was clear, the sun was shining, there was a gentle breeze and the birds were making the most of it.

    Swallow and house martin are arriving in increasing numbers, blackcap, whitethroat, willow warbler and chiffchaff have…

    • 1 May 2018
  • Seabird Spectacular

    On Saturday we carried out our first black guillemot survey by walking the clifftops shortly after sunrise and counting the number of individual black guillemots we could see. Altogether we counted 28 birds, five on the reserve and 23 off the reserve. With their black bodies, distinctive white patches and vivid red feet they are easy to distinguish from their relatives, the guillemot and razorbill, both of which are also…

    • 16 Apr 2018
  • First Egg of the Year!

    The weather has typically been very changeable this week with thick fog hanging over us most of the weekend, but today it has cleared and finally the sun has come back out, or at least partially made an appearance.

    On switching on our live cameras in the visitor centre today we were delighted to see the first egg from our pair of shag that nest below the foghorn! Shag tend to lay three eggs over the course of a few days…

    • 10 Apr 2018
  • Hello from the Mull of Galloway, 2018!

    Welcome to the first blog of the year from RSPB Mull of Galloway. It’s been a week of very changeable weather since we first opened our doors for 2018. Rain has been a big feature along with strong cold winds interspersed by periods of sunshine but what else would you expect for late March, early April! We're keeping our fingers crossed though for plenty of sunshine throughout the season and lots of exciting sightings…

    • 4 Apr 2018
  • Volunteering for the RSPB - Mull of Galloway

    As we approach the end of another season here at RSPB Mull of Galloway I thought I would leave you with a blog from one of our fantastic residential volunteers this year. Take it away Lucy! 

    As I headed up the single-track road to the RSPB Visitor Centre, I was both excited and nervous in anticipation of what the next two weeks would have in store for me on the Mull of Galloway. However, when I turned the corner and was…

    • 25 Oct 2017
  • Windswept and interesting!

    To say it has been breezy at the Mull of Galloway recently would be an understatement.  Like much of the west coast we have experienced winds of over 70 mph and more than our fair share of rain. This has not hampered the amount of wildlife that could be seen however.

    Large numbers of thrushes, mainly redwing and fieldfare along with smaller numbers of song thrush and blackbird have been travelling through this week. Each…

    • 22 Oct 2017
  • Scotland or Senegal?

    The Gannetry on Big Scare has all but been abandoned for another season. The gannet that breed there have largely all dispersed. Many gannet will spread out across the Atlantic, some of which will head for the Bay of Biscay where they will spend the winter and some will travel even further, heading to the coast of Senegal, Northwest Africa, but some will choose to remain close by to their breeding grounds and can be seen…

    • 15 Oct 2017
  • Visible Migration

    It’s visible migration season at the Mull of Galloway. A time of year to stand and visually observe what birds are migrating to warmer climes and in what numbers. Many birds are arriving, circling and resting up nearby while they await better winds and many are already making their way south. Most birds prefer to fly in to a slight headwind, so south, south-easterly winds around 5-10mph are ideal if combined with clear…

    • 29 Sep 2017
  • Life beyond the Mull - Part 2

    At this time of year many thousands of birds are passing through the Mull of Galloway on their autumn migrations. Many will be moving from upland areas to milder lowland areas within the UK, many will be travelling to the UK from colder countries further north, many will be attempting to escape the winter chill by travelling to warmer parts of Europe and many more will be travelling thousands of miles and crossing in…

    • 24 Sep 2017