We don’t get over to the east of Dumfries & Galloway very often due to work so decided on a couple of nights away to end the year after the Christmas rush.
We stopped off on the way to Dumfries at RSPB Ken Dee Marshes. We had visited before many years ago when we were staying at Livingstone Cottage not far down the road and had cycled here. The weather, I remember had been very hot, but today it was bitterly cold and very wet.As we approached the car park there were several Red Kites above, I managed to snap this one as we got out of the car.
Our next sighting was a beautiful Jack Snipe, our first, unfortunately far too fast for me to get a photo!
We walked briskly to the first hide where lots of small birds were on the feeders
The view from the hide and a break in the weather
Plenty of Nuthatches here, we don’t get them at home in the far west of the county.
Birch Polypore (Piptoporus betulinus)
We don’t get these at home either!
RSPB sign asking visitors to “respect the activities of shooting parties” !!!
Next morning we were up early and headed for WWT Caerlaverock. We stopped at the Castle Wood car park first for a walk and spotted these geese overhead. Plenty of birds in the woods including Jay and Bullfinch.
We then headed for the main WWT Centre, where there were hundreds of Barnies on the approach Road.
Green-winged Teal (right)
Nearly feeding time for the Mutes and Whoopers waiting patiently!
Very pretty Mallard female
With her mate.
The WWT staff keep getting reports of a Snow Bunting…
Another family flying in
At last-feeding time!
Canada Geese tucking in…
…and a Wigeon
Longhorn Cattle grazing
We managed to spend a good 5 hours at Caerlaverock, we stayed until the light was fading and saw a flock of Yellowhammers in the hedgerow
Next morning, ignoring yet another miserable wet day, we set off early for RSPB Mersehead. We were keen to visit as we had heard so much about it as Kirsty (our sons girlfriend) works there. As soon as we arrived we saw Barnies coming into land right by the car park.
We headed for the first hide, out of the rain and saw several Yellowhammers…
…and Reed Buntings by the path
Female Reed Bunting
Male Reed Bunting
We spent some time in both of the hides watching the ducks including Shoveller, Pintail and Goldeneye.
We then decided to brave the weather and do the circular walk to the beach. Lots more Barnies along the way.
The beach was great although bitterly cold..
…so we walked briskly back to the Visitor Centre for a hot coffee, a chat with RSBPB staff member Hannah and watched the birds through the window.