Ness Muir Wildlife
is a small area of scrub and trees on
easterly point of the Fife coast. It is excellent for migrant and
to the Reserve
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.
track to the reserve is on the
right as you
enter the small car
Throat being ringed
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
walk along the Fife Coastal Path from Kilminning to Fife Ness.
OUT a copy of this Web page
and take it
with you when you visit the reserve.
importance of the reserve is for people to
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.
species of birds have been seen from
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
Birds have been
recorded travelling to or from 14
countries of Europe. A log is maintained in the hut on the reserve and
the latest news posted on a display board.
welcome at all times and the ringing
run such that bird watchers can still enjoy the freedom of the reserve.
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.
Ringing of migrant
birds was carried out on Fife Ness
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.
vegetation was stunted gorse but over the
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
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
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.
increases more oak trees are being planted.
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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