• A melody of Warblers

    The willow patch at the Mull of Galloway has once again proven to be an attractive draw to migrating warblers. Goldcrest, willow warbler, chiffchaff and whitethroat have all been seen and heard singing melodiously among the scrub this week along with both robin and wren.

     

    Goldcrest – photo credit: Rob Conn

    On the heath, linnet and goldfinch continue to feed in busy flocks, constantly on the move from one patch…

    • 10 Sep 2017
  • Beginnings of Migrations

    As we move in to September we are starting to see early signs of autumn migrations. The willow patch which acts as a tempting stop off point for migrants has been attracting willow warbler, sedge warbler, whitethroat and goldcrest. The number of linnet and goldfinch that have been feeding amongst the heathland has increased vastly, with mixed flocks often reaching 50 plus. There has also been a marked increase in the…

    • 3 Sep 2017
  • The call of the kittiwake

    The cliffs around the Mull of Galloway continue to resonate with the calls of kittiwake. Kittiwake get their name from their call which sounds like 'kittiwaaik, kittiwaaik; The majority of the young kittiwake hatched this year have fledged and are now exploring their temporary home. Young kittiwake can easily be identified from the adults by their distinctive plumage, consisting in part of a black leading edge to their…

    • 13 Aug 2017
  • Life beyond the Mull - Part 1

    Many of the birds that breed on the Mull of Galloway spend a large part of their lives out on the open sea, only coming to land to breed. One such bird is the kittiwake. Kittiwake can still be seen in good numbers on the cliffs around the reserve. Many of the juveniles are around five weeks old and can be seen flapping their wings enthusiastically; building up their flight muscles in preparation for their first ventures…

    • 3 Aug 2017
  • The next generation.

    With the breeding season drawing closer to its final stages, the number of chicks and fledglings around the Mull of Galloway has been increasing.

    Guillemot and razorbill chicks have recently been swapping the steep cliffs for the open water, where under the careful eye of the male parent bird, they will learn to fend for themselves and develop their flight before dispersing throughout the Atlantic.

    The majority of the…

    • 21 Jul 2017
  • Parasols and puffins

    Puffin sightings remain frequent this week, mainly coming from the Foghorn or Lagvag Viewpoints with a peak count of 17 seen swimming together.

    Puffins - Photo credit: Rob Conn

    Guillemot and razorbill chicks can still be seen on the cliffs with the first ‘jumplings’ expected to take the leap next week. Guillemot and razorbill chicks leave the cliffs before they can fly by scrambling down the cliffs or, where they come…

    • 10 Jul 2017
  • Chick flick!

    The first of our kittiwake chicks have begun to hatch and can easily be seen from the comfort of the RSPB Visitor Centre through our newly repaired live cameras along with razorbill, guillemot and soon to be fledging shag chicks!

    Kittiwake with chick: Photo Credit - Crystal Maw

    Puffin have been seen most days recently, albeit in small numbers, near the foghorn or Lagvag viewpoints as have black guillemot.

    Gannet

    • 30 Jun 2017
  • Return of the puffin

    This week saw the return of one of the nation’s favourite birds to the Mull of Galloway. Although they do not breed here, puffin are often seen on the water in small numbers between now and the end of June.

    Puffin - Photo credit: Rob Conn

    Puffin are members of the Auk family which also includes guillemot, razorbill and black guillemot, all of which can be seen at the Mull of Galloway.

    This week has also seen…

    • 20 May 2017
  • Screaming back

    One of nature’s true marvels has been screaming overhead this week as they reach the final leg of their epic migration, flying more than 3,000 miles, often in less than seven days!

    Once known as the Devil’s bird, with their distinctive sickle shaped wings, black plumage and high pitched screams, swifts are true masters of the sky. Only ever touching down to rear their young, they spend their entire lives…

    • 14 May 2017
  • New Arrivals

    This week has seen the arrival of the first chicks on the reserve. One of our pairs of shag have hatched two chicks and we expect the others to not be far behind.

    Shag with chick - Photo Credit: Andy Hay (RSPB Images)

    Two other recent arrivals are whitethroat and sedge warbler. We have had both signing away in the willow bushes at the start of the week along with willow warbler, goldfinch and wren. A snipe has also…

    • 2 May 2017
  • A Hint of What's to Come

    As we approach May, the wildflowers that will soon be carpeting the reserve with their vibrant colours are beginning to blossom. Spring squill, dog violets, sea campion and thrift to name a few are already starting to flower and will soon be joined by Northern marsh orchids, tormentil and bluebells.

    Thrift: Photo Credit - Robert Conn

    This delightful assortment of wildflowers is an appetising and alluring draw for many…

    • 25 Apr 2017
  • A Welcoming Return

    The visitor centre at the Mull of Galloway has now been re-open for just over a week and the wildlife sightings are plentiful.

    Shag - Photo Credit: Robert Conn

    Shag are busy gathering nesting material and constructing their rather scruffy looking nests of seaweed, twigs and other vegetation on the steep cliff faces, some are even sitting on eggs. Kittiwake are steadily returning to the cliffs and are busy staking…

    • 12 Apr 2017
  • Residential volunteering at the Mull of Gallow

    Residential volunteering is your chance to have a break, try something new or get some experience for your CV. There are over 40 different places to stay and hundreds of things to do. We'll provide you with accommodation, new skills and some great memories. You can spend a week or more on a reserve and you can do it alone or bring a friend. Read the following stories from our residential volunteers at the Mull of Galloway…

    • 29 Oct 2016
  • Migration in action

    It’s all go at the Mull of Galloway this week as thousands of birds have passed overhead on route to their wintering grounds. The wind began to ease last weekend and early this week- excellent conditions for witnessing visible migration. Winds from the East help to push migrating birds onto the Rhins. These birds then follow the land down to Scotland’s southernmost point and pass through in large numbers.

    • 16 Oct 2016
  • October migration at the Mull of Galloway

    Thousands of birds travel through Scotland’s southernmost point as they move to their winter grounds. Huge numbers of Linnets, Goldfinch and Meadow Pipits are seen every day at the Mull of Galloway on migration. Early morning, it is possible to witness visible migration – daylight observation of migrating birds. The Mull of Galloway is best known for large numbers of skylarks with 1,441 recorded in less than…

    • 7 Oct 2016
  • Visible Migration Festival 2016

    We celebrated our annual Visible Migration Festival last weekend. Previous visible migration studies at the Mull of Galloway have recorded thousands of birds travelling through the reserve. The maritime heath offers plenty of insects for migrating birds whilst the cluster of willows behind our visitor centre provides a place to shelter and rest those weary wings. An Easterly wind helps to push migrating birds onto the…

    • 17 Sep 2016
  • Autumnal August

    As August arrived there was an excitement in the air. The seabird breeding season was drawing to a close and the autumn migration was just around the corner. The weather has been incredibly nice: regular sunshine, very little wind and only the odd day of rain (this is Scotland afterall!). Despite the summer weather, migrating birds have been travelling through at an exceptional rate. Each day hundreds of House Martins…

    • 31 Aug 2016
  • The Scar Rocks

    In the middle of Luce Bay, around 5 miles from the Mull of Galloway lies the Scar Rocks. The islands are home to a colony of Gannets- the last count in 2014 indicated 2,376 pairs nest here. As part of the RSPB Mull of Galloway reserve, RSPB staff aim to visit the Scars each year to monitor the health of the colony. Poor weather in 2015 halted each attempt to reach the islands however with a period of settled weather,…

    • 28 Jul 2016
  • Clearing the Cliffs

    One of the highlights of a visit to the Mull of Galloway is experiencing the vocal and visual display of large numbers of seabirds nesting on the cliffs.

    Guillemots and razorbills make up the largest percentage of seabirds that breed on the Mull of Galloway. Their chicks that spend the first few weeks of their lives developing on the bare, exposed rock faces eventually have to make a leap of faith and leave the cliffs…

    • 24 Jul 2016
  • Recent events at the Mull of Galloway

    The summer is a fantastic time to visit the Mull of Galloway as the seabirds nest on the cliff ledges. It's also a good time to take part in one of the events ran on the reserve. 

    Last weekend we celebrated our smuggling history with a festival of events organised by the Mull of Galloway community trust. With a close proximity to the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland, many goods were smuggled into the local area in…

    • 15 Jul 2016
  • The results are in....

    The results are in, the seabird breeding data has been collated and it appears we are having a mixed season at the Mull of Galloway.

    The number of breeding Guillemots and Razorbills are down compared to last year. This is most likely due to mixed weather conditions at the start of the nesting season when the birds were settling onto the cliff ledges to lay. It’s not all bad news though as the productivity (ie. The…

    • 10 Jul 2016
  • Seeds of Change

    The Mull of Galloway is strongly affected by the seasons. The passage of time from one month to the next is noticeable in both the flora and fauna. Some changes are subtle, some much more obvious.

    One of the most noticeable changes at present is the increased number of linnets and goldfinches. These small seed eating birds are attracted to the large buffet available to them in the form of various plants belonging to…

    • 3 Jul 2016
  • Newly Hatched Chicks

    The first kittiwake chick of this year was spotted yesterday (Sunday 26th June) through the cliff mounted camera which feeds live images directly to the RSPB Visitor Centre.

    Kittiwake are a member of the gull family that lay two eggs in a deep cup shaped nest which they construct out of vegetation, such as grass, and mud. They construct their nests on steep cliffs around the UK coast.

    kittiwake - Photo credit: Andy…

    • 27 Jun 2016
  • Golden Charms

    Anyone visiting the Mull of Galloway during the summer will appreciate it is a time of colour, largely formed by the rich carpet of wildflowers and further enhanced by the diverse range of butterflies, bees and colourful beetles that abound, and of course, the wide variety of birds.

    One of my favourite birds is the brightly coloured goldfinch. The collective name for a flock of goldfinches is a 'charm', and these undeniably…

    • 26 Jun 2016
  • Stand up and be counted

    It's been an important week at the Mull of Galloway as the staff have been busy performing the annual census of the breeding seabirds. Counting all of the birds on the cliffs is no easy feat and requires a lot of time, dedication (5am rises!) and patience. The results are being collated and we will bring you updates over the next few weeks on how this season has fared. The first Guillemot and Razorbill eggs hatched…

    • 19 Jun 2016