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Fife Ness Muir Wildlife Reserve is a small area of scrub and trees on the most easterly point of the Fife coast. It is excellent for migrant and breeding birds

Access to the Reserve

Fife Ness Muir Wildlife Reserve can be reached by taking the Balcomie Road out of Crail to the Balcomie Links Golf Course. Keep going until you come to the entrance to the golf course where you will find a signposted car with a request to pay a fee at the Club House.

The track to the reserve is on the right as you enter the small car park.

Blue Throat
Blue Throat being ringed

The reserve can also be reached by using the Fife Coastal Path and one way to visit Fife Ness Muir is to follow the directions for parking at the Kilminning Coast Wildlife Reserve and walk along the Fife Coastal Path from Kilminning to Fife Ness.

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Fife Ness Muir


NO 637 097
O.S. Sheet 59


The main importance of the reserve is for people to enjoy the fascinating spectacle of bird migration. During the spring and autumn periods of migration numerous small paths allow visitors to move quietly round the reserve or better still strategically placed seats allow observers to watch birds undisturbed.

Approaching 150 species of birds have been seen from the reserve including 17 species of warbler. During spring and autumn recording is carried out on a daily basis and the reserve is now a ringing station with permanent traps similar to those on the Isle of May.

Birds have been recorded travelling to or from 14 different countries of Europe. A log is maintained in the hut on the reserve and the latest news posted on a display board.

Visitors are welcome at all times and the ringing station is run such that bird watchers can still enjoy the freedom of the reserve.

Flowering shrubs have been planted and the reserve is an excellent place for looking at migrant butterflies. There is a good breeding population of birds but during the breeding season many of the small paths are allowed to grow over to reduce disturbance.

Historical Perspective

Ringing of migrant birds was carried out on Fife Ness Muir from the early 1960s. In 1971 in recognition of International Conservation Year the area known as Fife Ness Muir was declared a nature reserve by Crail Town Council. It became a Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve at that time under the management of Dr. J. Cobb.

The original vegetation was stunted gorse but over the last three decades a wide range of shrubs and trees have been established and as shelter has increased so the vegetation has matured and been diversified. There are more than 30 species planted. Some of these shrubs have been specifically planted to provide food for migrant birds. Long term it will be largely hazel and oak that predominate. There are two small artificial pools.

Dr. Cobb later purchased the reserve for the SWT and it has become established as a Ringing Station for migrant birds and a focus for visiting bird watchers.


The paths are maintained to combat erosion and the gorse is kept cut back to maintain a balanced environment with sheltered open spaces. All the planting requires protection against rabbits and particularly roe deer which are now semi-resident.

As shelter increases more oak trees are being planted. The best oak trees are now nearly twenty foot high and demonstrate well that many things will grow even in such a hostile environment if enough time and patience are expended. There is now a database relating to migration that dates back more than thirty years.

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