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Big improvements for St. Johns Pool bird reserve at Dunnet thanks to 'largest ever' wind farm grant


By David G Scott

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The largest grant ever made by the Stroupster Wind Farm Community Benefit Fund has enabled improvement work to begin at the St Johns Pool bird reserve.

The work will help to create better access for all-ability visitors and to increase safe breeding areas for terns as well as improving water quality at the Dunnet site.

St John's loch bird reserve at Dunnet. Pictures: Julian Smith
St John's loch bird reserve at Dunnet. Pictures: Julian Smith

The Stroupster Fund Panel awarded £43,650 to the Scottish Ornithologists' Club to contribute to the costs of the project. The project will allow a local building contractor to create new paths giving better access to the hides for disabled visitors, to improve the car parking and to install a solar powered multi-level pond management system so that water can be pumped across the various gradients on site as necessary.

Julian Smith, the club’s vice chairperson who has committed many years to the upkeep of the the site, said: "This project at SJP bird reserve is by far the most ambitious and technically involved since the reserve was created in 1989.

The St. Johns Pool bird reserve attracts around 2000 bird enthusiasts annually
The St. Johns Pool bird reserve attracts around 2000 bird enthusiasts annually

The works are going well despite recent hold ups, but none of this would have been possible without the generous support of Foundation Scotland, and the other funders – to whom we are extremely grateful.

"We are looking forward to re-opening the reserve in spring with the new works completed including: landscaping, all-ability access upgrades, innovative water management system and, of course, a new secure nesting platform for the Arctic terns.”

Work undertaken to upgrade the St John's loch bird reserve.
Work undertaken to upgrade the St John's loch bird reserve.
Improvement work at St John's loch bird reserve at Dunnet.
Improvement work at St John's loch bird reserve at Dunnet.

Eilidh Coll, community fund adviser for Foundation Scotland said: "The St. Johns Pool bird reserve attracts around 2000 bird enthusiasts annually.

"It’s a place like no other where people can watch the birds undisturbed. Maintaining the nesting sites and the water quality of the pool will ensure the site remains a successful breeding ground and a site worth visiting and contribute to the enhancement of biodiversity at this nationally and globally important site, including several species of bird that are under threat.”

The site is currently closed to visitors but will re-open once works are complete.


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