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Caerlaverock and a new Scottish record total (1 Viewer)


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Spent 3 days in Dumfriesshire staying at the very handy Nith Hotel at Glencaple. Day one walked from Dumfries along the river bank, this is possible all the way although there is a bit of a scramble across a minor creek; one out of the urban park I pretty much had the river to myself. As expected the Barnacle Geese are the real stars but also saw Red Kites both from the train and from the dinner table hunting over the river. Also saw several Little Egret and photod three together in a tree as I walked. After lunch I did a bit of a local walk but rain came down so not much achieved, day one total 23 species. Another spectacle which impressed was the huge numbers of Gulls flying out along the Nith to roost in the early evenings and coming back in the mornings.

On Tuesday I set off at 7 am down the road to first the NNR and then through the path onto the WWT. At the start of the NNR I was pleased to hear my first singing Chiffchaff of the year and Skylarks were also singing prominently. At the NNR carpark it was still fairly early and I only passed one dog walker luckily his dog was well-behaved, understandably there are lot of notices up about ground breeding birds effective March 1st onwards. It took me 3.5 hours to eventually reach the WWT. The path between the NNR and WWT is a bit meandering and probably the former aren't in a hurry to point you in the direction of the latter, in fact none of the sign-posts mention it at all! The latter section zig zags through some farmland with lots of electric fencing one bit of which I almost walked into as it wasn't very well marked. At the WWT (10.30) there were about half a dozen cars but the visitors were fairly well spread out and generally I avoid going into occupied hides even big ones due to Covid risk. The highlights were stunning closeups of Whooper Swans, my first Scottish Shoveler, great closeup pics of Reed Bunting and Tree Sparrow and a flock of 11 Yellowhammers around a puddle. Not a great day for raptors, this was the only day of the three I didn't see a Red Kite and no Peregrines or Merlins for me, just one Buzzard being mobbed on the return walk along the road to Glencaple. However I ended up with a day total of 50 which busts my previous Scottish record of 46 at Aberlady last year and I think may even equal my UK record (from Cley). A few of these I only got walking down the road so the car drivers may have missed out! (Buzzard and Great Spotted Woodpecker). I got back to the hotel just before 5pm so a lot of time on my feet.

Today the forecast was spot on and it rained all morning for the slog back to Dumfries. However I eventually picked up 34 species including a nice Nuthatch on the bike path just near Dumfries station and the first of several Red Kite sightings from the train not long after leaving town.


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