227

RSPB Loch Lomond – Wildlife Conservation

RSPB Scotland is managing the site to make it an even better home for nature. There is a long history of land management here, much of which helped to form the unique habitats found today. Over time, we want to recreate some of those conditions and use historical practices to make this place the best it can be for wildlife and people.

One example of our work is the restoration of the grassland and meadow as low-intensity grazing pasture. This will provide ideal conditions for plants, insects, breeding birds and wintering wildfowl, such as geese. Much of the site has been under-grazed in the recent past, and associated habitats had fallen into poor condition. Work by the team on site and our local graziers over the past 3 years has already had a huge positive impact and this programme of work will continue in the coming years. Over the spring and summer, the cows of local graziers, will graze the grasslands. This helps to keep vegetation under control, improving the conditions for ground-nesting birds, such as redshanks, snipe and lapwings, as well as maintaining the diversity of plant and insect species. We were delighted when a pair of lapwings decided to nest in the field outside our office last year!

This grassland management has been improving the feeding and roosting grounds for the internationally important population of Greenland white-fronted geese who spend the winter in this area. These geese join up with larger flocks of pink-footed geese and greylag geese and dawn and dusk are the best times to experience the spectacle of them leaving or arriving at their roosting sites. Why not join us on one of our goose watches or guided walks this year?

Another example of our conservation efforts is our work on invasive non-native species. Our partners, SNH, have been controlling invasive non-native plant species, such as Himalayan balsam, for many years across the NNR and we continue to work with them. Our Assistant Warden Becky hosts regular work parties with a focus on eradicating these species along the course of the River Endrick.