Morton Lochs (Fife)

Morton Lochs, part of Tentsmuir NNR, is one of the new Dragonfly Hotspots established in Scotland in 2014. It is owned and managed by Scottish Natural heritage. Dragonflies can be seen around the lochs and along the paths close by.

The Site: Morton Lochs is made up of three small lochs fringed with reeds, which provide shelter and protection for many birds and animals. The lochs were created in 1906 by the local landowner, who flooded an area of the dune heath for fishing. The lochs quickly became an important freshwater habitat, attracting large numbers of breeding and wintering wildfowl. In 1952 the importance of Morton Lochs was recognised and the area designated a National Nature Reserve, only the second in the UK at the time.

Work is on-going to maintain a balance between open water and vegetation by clearing scrub and reeds to create the important habitats needed to support the rich variety of plants, animals and insects which thrive at Morton Lochs.

Getting there: Head south from Tayport on the B945 for 1.7 miles then take a sharp left onto a minor road which leads to the car park (total distance = 2.5 miles). The road to the car park is single track, with limited passing places and an aggregate surface. By public transport – the nearest bus stops are in Tayport and Leuchars. Buses will stop by request at the Morton Lochs road end. The nearest station is Leuchars on the Edinburgh – Aberdeen line. By bike – the Falkland to Monifieth via St Andrews section of NCN Route 1 (Edinburgh – Aberdeen) passes Kinshaldy Beach, and a small diversion will take you to Morton Lochs. On foot – the St Andrews to Tay Bridge section of the Fife Coastal Path runs through Tentsmuir NNR and a small diversion, again, will take you to Morton Lochs. Tayport Heath to the north of the Reserve is easily accessed on foot from the village of Tayport.

When to visit: The earliest emerging damselflies can be seen from around mid-April onwards. Sunny days in July and August are most likely to result in the highest number of species spotted – Common and Black Darters can be easily spotted along the woodland rides close to the lochs and hunting in the adjoining open areas. Visit during winter to experience the spectacular sights and sounds of hundreds of teal gathering on the lochs.

Also good for: There are five wildlife hides around Morton Lochs – all great places to watch wildlife or to just relax in the peace and quiet. Water rail, little grebe, tufted duck, goldeneye, marsh harrier, ospreys, kingfishers, red squirrels and otters are all regularly seen on or around the lochs.

Other dragonfly species found here include Black Darter, Common Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser, Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Large Red Damselfly, Common Blue Damselfly, Azure Damselfly, Emerald Damselfly and Blue-tailed Damselfly. Emperor dragonflies and Red-veined Darters have been recorded here, which are amongst the most northerly sightings on record.

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Morton Lochs
Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve
near Tayport,

Morton Lochs (Fife)