There was great excitement on Thursday when Ben our Assistant Warden and a team of volunteers were down at the Natterjack pools giving them a bit of a facelift, they spotted 3 Natterjacks newly awakened from their winter slumber! One was still in it's whole, flat out on its back snoozing! Literally a "toad in a hole" as our intern Adam said! It won't be long before we start to hear their distinctive croaking on an evening! We have a special evening event at the end of May, where people will get the rare opportunity to go down to our specially adapted pools to see the Natterjacks and learn about these amazing, rare amphibians.
Don't forget if you want to join us on an evening guided walk we have one every night this coming week - Dusk on the Dunes, we might even hear the the Natterjacks from the dunes! Booking essential. To find out more or to book a space on one of the walks call 01387 780579.
Well signs of Spring continue on the reserve, the first Chiffchaffs were seen on Friday last week and Ben, our Assistant Warden saw a Sand Martin today! We're eagerly awaiting the arrival of more spring migrants including Willow and Sedge Warblers, Swallow, House Martin and Redstart!
There have also been 2 sightings of Red Kite on and near the reserve recently, with one seen over nearby woodland on Saturday being dive-bombed by a couple of crows and then 2 seen on the reserve yesterday! We'll keep our eyes open to see if they look like they are going to settle and nest nearby.
The wildfire that caused so much damage on Criffel is now under control, there has been a lot of activity from helicopters today, presumably dropping water onto the fire! It just goes to show how dangerous these fires can be when they get out of control.
The green winged teal was seen again today on a number of occasions from the Bruaich Hide. Also someone reported seeing a ruff from the hide last night. There has been some lovely bird song today, particularly from the skylark that are singing over the merse and also over the car park.
The red breasted goose is still in the area and we someone saw it today near Southerness.
Well luckily the keeping the fingers and toes crossed and the little sun dance that we were all doing on Friday evening worked and we had a glorious day on Saturday for our first ever "Wildfowl and Wader Wander" sponsored walk! The day started well with 120 Whooper swans flying over the reserve at 9.30am, an amazing sight! The weather was beautiful, bright sunshine and hardly a breath of wind!! As the first participants started arriving there was already a real buzz, especially as people had been so successful at collecting money! By 10am we had all our 60 participants champing at the bit ready to go and first calculations showed we'd raised £1700 for the continuing nature conservation work at Mersehead!!! Absolutely amazing!! A huge thank you to all the people who took part and to all those that sponsored them of course.
As we walked the skylarks were out cheering us on, a real sign that Spring is here at long last! The beach looked lovely with the clouds reflected in the water gathered on the sand. Sadly it was a little misty to see the ususal views of the Lakes. As we headed off the beach back onto the reserve we had fantastic views of the Barnacles grazing in one of the fields with the leucisitc Barnacle right in the centre of the flock.
In other news the Green-winged teal was spotted from the Bruaich Hide again on Saturday too. There aren't quite as many birds about on the wetlands as there were but there is still plenty to see from the hides. Pintails, wigeon, teal, shoveler and shelduck as well as lapwing starting to display over the fields and skylarks singing over the merse.
For all those that missed our sponsored walk we do have some free guided walks coming up in the first week of April. Our first one starts on Monday 2nd April and runs until Sunday 8th April, 7-9pm. Booking on these walks is essential and if you'd like to join one of them please call us on 01387 780579. We also have a fortnight of Wild Wednesdays and Family Fun Fridays during the Easter break (31st March-15th April) and we have an Easter Craft Fair on the Easter weekend. To find out more about the reserve or any of our events please visit our website, keep reading our blog, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01387 780579
We are still having regular sightings of the Green Winged Teal from the Bruaich Hide at Mersehead. Today we have also had reported sightings of a Ruff, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck from there too, just to name a few! Other recent sightings have included Whimbrel in fields near the beach, a Wheatear in woodland on the way to the beach from the Meida Hide and a female Peregrine from the Bruaich Hide as well as the usual birds for this time of year including Barnacle Geese, Wigeon, Shoveler and Shelduck. The hedges are full of the sound of smaller birds such as Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting and Dunnock. The Ross's Goose and Leucistic Barnacle haven't been reported for about a week but might still be about in the area!
The Red-breasted Goose is still around near Southerness and was seen this morning. There have been some great sightings from nearby Carsethorn too including harbour porpoise, Whimbrel and 21 Purple Sandpiper. The last reported sighting of the Glossy Ibis was on Monday 12th at Carsethorn.
We are eagerly awaiting our sponsored walk on Saturday and now have over 60 participants joining us for the day, we have already raised an amazing £635 with more expected, all of which will be going to our continued conservation walk at Mersehead! We just need to keep our fingers crossed for good weather now :)