A nature reserve which is home to an extremely rare toad and other wildlife is to expand following a successful fundraising drive.

RSPB Scotland Mersehead will expand by 112 hectares, the equivalent of 80 football pitches, after £285,000 was raised in just one month in an appeal launched by the charity in October.

The reserve, located on the Solway Firth close to Dumfries, is a sanctuary for around 10,000 barnacle geese that make the epic 1,000-mile migration from the Arctic island of Svalbard every year.

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It is also home to the only Scottish population of the natterjack toad, while in the summer the songs of yellowhammers, linnets and lapwings fill the air.

The autumn brings pintails, teals and widgeons to the reserve, and waders such as oystercatchers, golden plovers and increasingly rare curlews join the geese during the colder months of the year.

Mersehead was previously two different parts of land separated by arable farmland, however they will now be joined together after the charity bought the land.

David Beaumont, RSPB Scotland reserves manager in south and west Scotland, said: "A huge thank-you to everyone who donated money to this urgent appeal. It really was a race against time when we launched our campaign to secure this site for nature.

"Thanks to the overwhelming public response, Mersehead has now been made whole, which is wonderful news for the special wildlife of the Solway Firth.

"We're immensely proud of what we have achieved at Mersehead since it became a reserve in 1994, with intensive agricultural land being transformed into wetlands, reedbeds and salt marsh teaming with life, and the use of wildlife friendly farming ensuring that nature here can thrive in harmony with the farming systems.

"We're incredibly grateful that thanks to public generosity this transformational journey can continue for many years to come, with work already under way to make Mersehead an even bigger and better home for nature."

Over the next two years, RSPB Scotland will be working to restore the special saltmarsh and sand dune habitats on the newest part of the reserve.

This will create more nesting opportunities for birds such as redshanks and skylarks that breed in the saltmarsh and more ponds in the sand dunes suitable for the natterjack toad population to expand into.

Work will begin this spring with the removal of scrub and non-native plant species.