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Ayrshire, Scotland (NS 437414)




Northcraig Reservoir is currently in a state of flux following the purchase, drainage and full-on destruction of the land. In 2003 the basin was completely drained but began to refill naturally in Spring 2004 when Little Grebe and a few other waterbirds were temporarily drawn back to breed. Further drainage effort has removed most of the water now. The current situation offers a much reduced scope for wildfowl. Some remnant pools offer Jack Snipe and Teal at best, though raptors and passerines remain. If you have a local patch, perhaps ignored for conservation status or protection, it is probably best not to get too attached to it - how long will it last? Read my article to find out about the good old days. |Article||Map|


Northcraig Reservoir North Craig Reservoir


This small reservoir is situated at 100 metres asl on the north side of Kilmarnock, 20 miles south of Glasgow. An unclassified road passing the eastern corner (where there is a small car park and lay-by) can be accessed from the B751 between the villages of Fenwick and Kilmaurs or the B7038 which runs from the Meiklewood Interchange on the A77 to Kilmarnock town centre.


Open water (both deep and shallow), juncus rush and sedge marsh, willow carr, thistle-beds, rough grassland, encompassed by pastoral farmland and rough grazing. Occasional exposed mud.


In the past, this location has paid off with repeated attention rather than occasional visits. Calling in at dawn and dusk between August and November will offer the best of the annual interest.


SPECIES CALENDAR Pre-2003 (before draining)
Spring: Oystercatcher and Curlew passage, hirundine passage, White Wagtail, Wheatear, Whinchat.
Breeding: 46 species have been recorded breeding in the immediate area including Little Grebe, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Buzzard, Kestrel, Partridge, Common Sandpiper, Snipe, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer.
Breeding birds, large feeding Swift flocks.
Goose passage (Sep-Oct), Wader passage (Jul-Sep), scarce duck, moult flock of Tufted Duck, gull flocks, thrush passage, Wheatear, Short-eared Owl
Whooper Swan (occasional roost), Goosander roost, Goldeneye, Pochard, chance of rarer duck and Hen Harrier or Merlin, Jack Snipe, Barn Owl, Raven.
Rarities and unusual records:  
Slavonian Grebe, Ferruginous Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Smew, Temminck's Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Turnstone, Knot, Glaucous Gull, Iceland Gull, Black Tern, Little Tern, Hoopoe, Dipper, Rock Pipit, and Snow Bunting.


Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)



26/02/22  Jack Snipe (1).

23/01/22  Pintail (m), Mallard (25) [AF].

30/12/19  Jack Snipe (1).

04/02/06  Long-eared Owl nearby at Meiklewood 2140h.

15/01/06  Tawny Owl nearby at Meiklewood 2218h.

14/01/06  Common Snipe (8), Fieldfare (90+), Redwing (40+), Buzzard, Sparrowhawk & Kestrel.

01/01/06  Jack Snipe (2), Pink-footed Goose (o/h), Yellowhammer (10) & Great Spotted Woodpecker.

27/11/05  Jack Snipe (1), Stonechat (3), Barnacle Goose (3) west.

03/01/05  Lapwing (28) & Buzzard.

28/12/04 Jack Snipe (1), Stonechat (1), Common Snipe (2), Mallard (66), Teal (4), Goldeneye (9), Meadow Pipit (10), Reed Bunting (3), Buzzard, Kestrel & Grey Heron.




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   2008 Fraser Simpson    www.fssbirding.org.uk