We were delighted to be able to lead a guided walk at St Abb's Head on 11th May as part of the Berwickshire Marine Reserve's volunteer series of events. Alex from BMR joined us to explain about the reserve, which was very welcome.

The aim was that this would be a nature walk and we would be looking out for birds, plants and insects on the route. We were a small but enthusiastic group that set off, anticipating a 2 hour walk around St Abb's Head that would take about 2 hours.

In reality there was so much to see, identify and photograph that we cut the walk short and still went well over 2 hours! However most of the walkers found it very refreshing to walk slowly and really look and listen to was there was around us.

A map of this walk is available here.  We walked along the cliff from St Abb's and then cut straight across to the Mire, walking along the easterly bank, which gave us splendid views of Bass Rock in the distance. We then went to the inlet at Pettico Wick to see the gannets and then took the single track road back to the visitor centre.

This gives an amazing variety of habitats in such a small area, so a wide variety of species.

My identification skills were tested at some points and it was really good for us all to share our knowledge.

Here is a list of what we saw on the day:


  • little grebe
  • gannet
  • shag
  • mute swan (nesting)
  • mallard
  • tufted duck
  • kestrel
  • moorhen
  • coot
  • oystercatcher
  • herring gull
  • common gull
  • great black backed gull
  • kittiwake
  • guillemot
  • razorbill
  • feral pigeon
  • swallow
  • house martin
  • skylark
  • pied wagtail
  • magpie
  • rook
  • carrion crow
  • raven
  • jackdaw
  • blackcap
  • chiffchaff
  • willow warbler
  • blackbird
  • blue tit
  • chaffinch
  • goldfinch
  • linnet
  • reed bunting
The Mire St Abb's
The Mire - a freshwater habitat
mute swan
Safe encounter with a swan
early purple orchids
early purple orchids
Vetch sp. with sea campion in the background.


  • sea pink (thrift)
  • sea campion
  • sea kale
  • primroses
  • rock rose (food for the rare Northern Argus butterfly)
  • cuckoo flower
  • early purple orchid
  • celandine
  • kingcup
  • Vetch sp.
  • ? bird's foot trefoil (leaves didn't look quite right)
  • bluebells
  • violet sp.


  • peacock butterfly
  • orange tip
  • small copper
  • speckled wood
  • bumble bee sp.
  • robber fly sp. (?)


If I get some better identification on any of these, I will update the blog accordingly.

Next Guided Walk

Wednesday 15th June  2022

10:00 - 12:30

Free, but a donation towards Berwickshire Marine Reserve would be appreciated.

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