Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Dumfries and Galloway Trip - Day 1

After a lovely and thankfully uneventful drive up the M6 in my old motorhome to Dumfries, I arrived at Caerlaverock WWT at about 3pm.  Yes, it was a bit late, but I managed to get to see my first target birds, the Barnacle Geese.

Almost the entire Svalbard population of around 35,000 Barnacle Geese overwinter here on the Solway Firth every year, and they are quite a spectacle to watch both flying and feeding.  Unfortunately, by this time of year many of them have returned to Svalbard, but there were at least 500-600 of them present at Caerlaverock today.

The weather was rather grim and so my photographs aren't great and I only noticed this odd looking goose once I had got the shots onto my computer.  At first I thought it was a blue morph Snow Goose but on closer inspection it seems to be a Barnacle/Snow Goose hybrid or something similar.  Further investigation has revealed that it is quite well-known at Caerlaverock and returns every year with the Barnacles.

I also saw lots of Shoveler. Teal, Wigeon a few Black-tailed Godwits and Mute Swans, but no Whooper Swans which had probably all left for Iceland now.  On the woodland trail I saw Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Collared Dove and Woodpigeon but suprisingly I didn't see any Yellowhammers although I did think I heard one calling near the car park.

My first campsite was at Rockcliffe on the other side of the Nith Estuary and so to get there from Caerlaverock I had to go through Dumfries to cross the River Nith.  A programme about rivers on TV had recently reminded me of the lovely old sandstone bridge there and the weir where Goosanders are regularly seen fishing, and so I decided to make a quick stop there in spite of the light dropping quickly.  The first bird that I noticed at the weir however was this one:

In the fading light I thought it might have been a Yellow-legged Gull when I took the photograph, but on looking at it on the computer I realised it was a Lesser Black-backed Gull.

More to come ....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment by typing your message in the text box, selecting 'Anonymous' from the 'Comment as' drop down menu and then finally clicking the 'Publish' button. It would be nice to see your name in the text if possible - thanks.