Sunday, 30 April 2017

I spotted my first Small Copper butterfly this afternoon down by the Mire Loch. This tiny and colourful butterfly is one of the most numerous species here in the summer. You can see it pretty much anywhere, but its favourite habitat is the long grass around the Mire Loch. Lizy

Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas

Friday, 28 April 2017

We had many a discussion about a wide range of topics during our start of season training day on Wednesday. At one stage the conversation turned to hedgehog poo, and I remarked that I had never knowingly seen any. Lo and behold, yesterday I recieved a plastic tub with a wee gift in it from one of the volunteers! I was surpried how big it was - about 5cm long and at least 1cm in diameter, and also how smelly! Every day's a school day as they say! Liza.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Today we had our start of season meeting/staff training day. Each year we pick a different site to visit, and to learn from. This year we decided to visit our neighbouring NTS property, Preston Mill, near East Linton. The weather was gorgeous and Andrew Mackay, the Senior Assistant there, very kindly took time out of his preparations for opening to the public on May 1st, to give us a guided tour. What a really fascinating wee building. We also took a stroll along to see Phantassie Doocot just along the way. Then a bite to eat at Tyningham Smiddy, and a walk to Tyningham Beach - all in all a great day out. Liza.
Andrew telling us all about the wonky drying room behind him. I don't actually remember it being as wonky as this, and so I was wondering at first if I had just taken the picture at an angle. But the team all seem to be standing upright - so it must be right!

Learning more about the ins and outs of regulating water flow to regulate the speed that the wheel turns at.

Set in splendid countryside too.
Phantassie doocot, another of our historic buildings, just a short walk along from the mill.
Margaret has a bad knee, so Bill, Zander and Lizy give her a bit of a hand to get up this sand dune from Tyningham Beach! Well, it was a team building day!

Monday, 24 April 2017

It seems like the swans on the Mire Loch might have settled down to breed at last. They have built two nests, but, sadly, have decided to use the one that is more difficult to see into, so that will make it a bit more tricky for us to keep a track of eggs etc. They're a little late in settling, presumably lots of time spent fighting with the second pair that was around. We'll keep you posted. Liza.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

I was checking sheep on our land at Lumsdaine this morning, and spotted a few mounds of thrift just starting to come into bloom, alongside some sea campion. It was a beautiful morning and you can see St Abb's Head in the background, jutting out into the sea. Lizy

Thrift and Sea Campion with a view towards St Abb's Head

Friday, 21 April 2017

First sighting of minke whales, at least four of them, including a youngster, of Coldingham Bay earlier today. Not by me, worst luck! That's early in the season, its usually more like July or August when we start to see them. I wonder if its going to be a good year for whales - lets hope so! Picture borrowed from the net to give you an idea of what to look out for. Liza.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The cliffs and stacks are starting to fill up with guillemots, and it's just a couple of weeks until we expect the first eggs to appear. Lizy

Sunday, 16 April 2017

A beautiful Easter Saturday yesterday. Wall to wall sun, a bit of a chilly breeze, but always good to blow away the cobwebs. Loads of people were out and about on the reserve enjoying themselves, and the forecast is good for today too. Not so sunny, but the wind has dropped right out. Here's a wee set of photos to give you a flavour. Liza.

Blue sky, yellow gorse, the small of coconut, the buzzing of bumble bees and the twittering of linnets...

There is much argie bargie going on with the mute swans on the Mire Loch. Two pairs are vying for the territory, lots of chasing, both in the air and on the water, and some fighting too. The body language in this shot speaks for itself - the pursuer is not amused, and the pursued is paddling as fast as it can!

Someone has been having fun stone stacking at Burnmouth Harbour - getting ready for the World Stonestacking Championships in Dunbar next weekend perhaps?

The reserve car park was full to capacity - there is more parking down in the village, so don't let it put you off!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Another sign of spring at St Abb's Head - our Assistant Ranger has started. Zander started with us in the middle of last week, and will be with us until the end of September. Here's a picture of him starting to get to grips with some seabird monitoring at Nunnery Point. For the first half of the summer he will be concentrating on monitoring the breeding success of guillemots and acting as a Pop-up Ranger around the Reserve - so keep on the look out for him! Liza.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Out on the clifftops today, taking a look at how the seabird breeding season is getting on. The shags look totally spendiferous, one might even say shagtastic, at this time of year. Their plumage is fresh, so the irridescent green shows beautifully, and the shag of feathers on their heads (from which they get their name) are very prominent (its all to do with attracting a mate). My camera was on full zoom, so not the best picture ever, but it gives you the gist. Liza.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Lizy and I were out at Abbey St Bathams doing an offroad driving refresher course today. We were so busy concentrating that we forgot to take any pictures so I have had to borrow one off the net. We may not have done anything quite as extreme as this, but it certainly felt like it sometimes! Liza.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

This year's events programme...

We have expanded our events programme this year - why not check it our on our website at

If you fancy coming on a seabird cruise, don't delay in booking, they sell out fast!  Liza.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Here's an image of Tom Nash, from Raptor Aerial Imaging, filming with a drone at Foul Bay today. The National Trust for Scotland have a policy about flying drones from or over our land - we haven't gone down the line of a total ban as other organisation have, but we do insist that folk seek permission from the relevant Property Manager before doing so. In this way we can balance to duty of care we have for our properties and the wildife and visitors in them with the fact that these machines really do help you see things literally from a different angle. Liza.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

A beautiful day here at St Abb's Head, the perfect spring morning to discover the first Shag egg of the season. Every year at St Abb's Head we monitor the productivity of the Shags, meaning how many chicks are produced per nest on average. We mark each nest on a photograph of the study area, and then follow them throughout the season, recording what happens. This is nest number 2 on our White Heugh study plot, and was the only egg spotted out of the 38 nests I recorded today. These birds are definitely front-runners for the first chick of the season, expected sometime in mid-May. Lizy

First Shag egg spotted this year, two Razorbills look on