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.