Discover the UK’s largest continuous reedbed along the north bank of the River Tay in Perthshire. The Tay Reedbeds are a haven for wildlife, including Bearded Tits, Marsh Harriers and Water Rails. Follow the 7km Taybank Circular path for a chance to see Bearded Tits flitting over the reeds and ducks and swans enjoying the shallows.
You might also spot Marsh Harriers hunting for prey, seals resting up out on the mudflats or Red Squirrels scampering in the trees.
Reed has been cut for thatch here on and off since the late 18th century, with commercial thatch operations stopping in 2005. The RSPB has been involved in the site since then and, as of 2018, manages around 240 hectares of reedbed for the benefit of an array of reedbed wildlife, including Bearded Tits.
Working with land owners, including Errol Park, the RSPB carries out reed cutting to create a mosaic of habitats for the wildlife, ensuring different ages of reed are provided to suit the needs of a range of species throughout the seasons.
Present year-round, Bearded Tits can be seen flitting across the tall reeds before dropping down to feed on insects and fallen seeds. Their distinctive "ping" calls are often the first sign there are birds nearby. The elusive Water Rails, hard to see but easily heard when they make their loud squealing calls, also benefit from the reed cutting, as it allows birds to move more freely through the reeds.
Marsh Harriers nest throughout the reedbeds and can be seen regularly hunting for small birds and mammals over the reserve and surrounding landscape.