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Post Info TOPIC: DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY


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RE: DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY


Just had a couple of days birding in the west of the county with a mate of mine. On the way up we called at the Golden Eagle site and were rewarded with the pair of breeding birds soaring and displaying over the hillsides. At one point we saw the two birds talon grappling on several occasions,a really good start to the trip. Also seen there were several Red Kites,Kestrel and Ravens.
The rest of the time we concentrated around Loch Ryan and West Freugh. On Loch Ryan we saw plenty of the wintering birds including 30+Slavonian Grebes,some of which were in full sum plum. At least 50 Red Throated Divers were seen,again some in full sum plum including a couple of paired up birds that were calling and displaying. Good numbers of Common Scoter,Red Breasted Mergansers, Eider,Black Guillemots and a few Razorbill and Guillemots and 4 Velvet Scoter. In excess of 200 Pale Bellied Brent Geese were wintering on the Loch as were 350 Greater Scaup,and a couple hundred Wigeon. Big numbers of Oystercatchers,Redshank and a few Knot and Bar Tailed Godwits,Dunlin etc were overwintering together with a single Greenshank .
A good find was a ist w.Little Gull(quite a scarce bird up there)was a Bishopburn both days on the dropping tide.
Around West Freugh plenty of Pink Footed Geese,a flock of 40 odd Greenland Whitefronts,and over a 1000 Golden Plover(some in full sum plum)were on a flooded field and were flushed by a female Merlin before we could go through them
.A big mixed flock of 50+ Whooper and Mute Swans were on the fields and several flocks of Whooper Swans were seen flying north,presumably starting their migration back to Iceland.
A quick visit to the Crook of Baldoon near Wigtown was worth while with several thousand Geese out on the merse,Pinks and Barnacles including a leucistic Barnacle Goose. Also on the reserve were Shoveler,Teal,Wigeon and Pintail.Unfortunately the American Wigeon had left a couple of days before.
All in all a very entertaining couple of days.


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June is usually a quiet month for birding and this one was no exception.
Still plenty of seabirds passing the caravan including plenty of Manx Shearwaters when the wind was in right direction but the only bird of note was a dark phase Arctic Skua on the 16th.
On the beach the only waders apart from 6 returning/non breeding? Curlew were the breeding Ringed Plover and Oystercatchers. A Little Egret feeding in the tidal pools was a nice find on the 19th,still a relatively rare bird up there.
Down Auchie Glen a Treecreeper was the first record for me outside the autumn passage season,and a Grasshopper Warbler reeling from the cereal field above the Glen was probably a juvenile which quite often reel at this time of year after they disperse. 
The Mull of Galloway hosted a Hooded Crow(looked like a full one rather than a hybrid) and 8 Puffins were picked out from the many Auks resting on the water.



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Another trip up for a couple of weeks with plenty of activity on the seawatching front from the caravan site.
A total of 9 Pomarine Skuas seen,all with spoons ,also 5 Arctic Skuas including 3 chasing Kittiwakes in the bay and a single sighting of a Great Skua made the seawatching worthwhile. Also 3 sum plum Great Northern Divers and 2 Red Throated Divers were still about, plenty of Manx Shearwaters, Gannets etc passing daily.
On the beach still a nice passage of waders with over 100 Ringed Plover one day and a maximum count of 29 Sanderling, and 25 Dunlin together with 6 Whimbrel.
Fairly quiet down Auchie Glen migration wise,with just a nice little fall of 5 Spotted Flycatchers one morning after overnight rain,otherwise just the usual Sedge Warbler,Whitethroat etc plus 2 singing Yellowhammers.
A drive up to Braid Fell just above Stranraer was interesting with Spotted Flycatcher and Siskin in one of the plantations ,and out on the open moorland Whinchat,Cuckoo, Raven,Buzzard Skylark, Meadow Pipit and a Red Kite. Unfortunately no sign of Hen Harrier,Short Eared Owl or Merlin which were virtually guaranteed only a few years ago. On Penwhirn Reservoir a small colony of breeding Common Gulls were utilizing the lip on the reservoir wall where there was an overhang above which would prevent Foxes predating them.

-- Edited by pete berry on Sunday 29th of May 2022 04:48:11 PM

-- Edited by pete berry on Sunday 29th of May 2022 04:50:27 PM

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Another trip up to caravan for the Easter break produced quite a few spring migrants which are always a few days later than at home.
On the beach a nice find of 5 Purple Sandpiper feeding along the tideline with Turnstone were about all week. Plenty of Turnstone,Ringed Plover,still over 50 Golden Plover,a few Dunlin,plenty of Oystercatchers,Curlew and 2 Whimbrel on the 17th. A few Wheatears, White Wagtails seen daily and a displaying Rock Pipit right in front of caravan. 6 Pale Bellied Brent still about ,and also a few Shelduck.
Seawatching from caravan saw the 1st Manx Shearwaters of the year,a few Fulmars,2 Great Northern and 4 Red Throated divers,plus plenty of Gannett, Kittiwake,Razorbill,Guillemot and Black Guillemot and reasonable numbers of Sandwich Tern each day.
Auchie Glen had loads of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff together with Sedge Warbler on the 16th and 2 Whitethroat and a Grasshopper Warbler on the 18th.
A quick look at Loch Ryan where there were still plenty of full summer plumage Slavonian Grebes and 3 stunning Black Throated Divers together with still pleof all the usuals.
On the way home we popped in to have a look for the Golden Eagle and were rewarded with a good 10 minute sighting,mainly whilst it was being mobbed by 2 Red Kite!!.Also at least 6 other Red Kite in the area,a Sparrowhawk and Stonechat.



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Just back from first trip up this year,luckily had all this nice weather all week.
Sea watching from the caravan produced a few Red Throated Divers and a couple of Great Northern Divers,plenty of Gannets,Kittiwakes,Auks together with a few Eider,Black Guillemots.
On the beach 66 Pale Bellied Brent Geese ,226 Golden Plover, over 50 Turnstones,plenty of Oystercatchers,Curlew ,Ringed Plovet, single Sanderling and a flock of 6 Rock Pipts feeding on the high tide strand line.
In Luce Bay a disappointing number of divers,with only 2 Great Northern and 6 Red Throats,a few Common Scoter,Red Breasted Mergansers and Black Guillemots.at least 6 over wintering Greenshank seen,plenty of Redshank and Oystercatchers.
Loch Ryan was excellant usual with at least 32 Red Throated Divers seen but only 1 Great Northern. Good numers of Slavonian Grebes still present,some coming into summer plumage. Also on the loch a few Long Tailed Ducks,Common Scoter,Red Breasted Mergansers Scaup,and a single Little Egret.
On the way home we had half hour looking for the Golden Eagle but no joy this time, however 13 Red Kites coming out of roost together from a small clump of trees and thermalling up high together before they dispersed. Also nearby a couple of Black Grouse were heard calling. Last call was at Browhouses where there were 5 Avocets,and county tick for me.

-- Edited by pete berry on Wednesday 23rd of March 2022 09:00:36 PM



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Yet another trip to caravan from 24th to yesterday was worth the effort in spite of the poor weather.
The Mull of Galloway was pretty quiet with just a few Goldfinch and Linnet feeding up before they headed south. Nearby Auchie Glen was also a bit quiet with the highlight being 3 Swallows on the 25th and a single Chiffchaff still. Also a few Redpoll and Siskin feeding on the Alders. Also at least 5 Red Admirals and a single Painted Lady out in the sunshine.
On the beach by the caravan still a few waders about with a nice count of 112 Turnstone and approx 250 Golden Plover. Still masses of Auks offshore including a single Little Auk that flew past very close in. A few divers back with a max of 2 Great Northern and 8 Red Throats on the 25th.
Luce Bay had plenty of divers back with 11 Great Northern and 13 Red Throats seen from one spot at Chapel Rossan,a total of 36 Red Throats and 21 Great Northerns were seen in total that day.Also a single Slavonian Gre be at Sandhead and numerous small flocks of Common Scoter scattered around the bay. Well in excess of 1000 Auks feeding in the bay still.
At West Freugh a single Marsh Harrier was hunting and the first of the Greenland Whitefronted Geese were back with a flock of 9 seen on the 27th.
On the way home we stopped near Clatterinshaws reservoir and found a flock of 20+ Brambling feeding on fallen Rowan berries.
w

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The following information was supplied by Pete Jeavons:

D&G is poorly serviced with bird sightings information, with a small number of resident and most importantly, active sightings reporting birders (or watchers!). Of course there are some records submitted via the established e-media and BirdTrack but the region is under-watched as a whole. As noted, D&G (as is well known by BTO reps at least), has few resident, more serious, regular birders, who routinely submit sightings for others to benefit from. The birdwatching fraternity that exists is by and large disunited & fragmented. Organisations & individuals "go their own way" and as a result, there is no D&G based go-to coordinated sightings information. 

Therefore, D&G Bird News has been set up for simplicity on Google Blogger and is in need of "members" ie, users, reporting hard to find, uncommon not exclusively scarce or rare, birds. Please find all the information you should require on the attached two documents. 

 

 



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Another trip up to caravan(no where else to go !!)was quite good with a few interesting birds seen.
On the beach in front of caravan plenty of common waders again with a max. of 64 Sanderling,plus plentyof Ringed Plover,Dunlin etc. Also a Little Egret spent 2 days feeding in the pools left by the receding tide and a couple of adult Mediterranean Gulls turned up,(still an uncommon bird up there). 3 Puffins were sat on the sea one day, and 2 Arctic Skua and 3 Great Skua were seen chasing Kittiwakes and Herring Gulls,with one of the Great Skua piratising a Gannet. A few Eider,Common Scoter,Manx Shearwaters and a couple of Red Throated Divers were seen passing out to sea. Several sightings of Harbour Porpoise out in the bay were spotted on calm days.
In Drummore Harbour a Curlew Sandpiper was present all week along with 100+ Ringed Plover, 50 +Dunlin,49 Redshank,a single Greenshank and a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull was present one day.
Plenty of Pied Wagtails,Linnet,Swallows and a few Wheatears were present around the caravan site,most of which will have probably moved on southward by now.



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Just back from another trip up to caravan ,the highlight was a Sooty Shearwater flying past with a few Manxies. Also a imm. Pomarine Skua watched for an hour chasing Sandwich Terns and Herring Gulls,it even dive bombed the Herring Gulls roosting on the beach to try and flush them. A couple of days later a dark phase Arctic Skua was offshore.
On the beach good nos of returning waders,including over 40 Sanderling, 4 Whimbrel, Dunlin,Ringed Plovers,and Turnstone. There was also an adult Mediterranean Gull with the other gulls on the beach,still quite a rarity up there.
Plenty of Sandwich Terns feeding on sandeels and nice to see quite a few juveniles with them constantly calling and begging for food.
A Painted Lady butterfly was the first I've seen this year,and a Speckled Wood (quite a rarity up there) was in Auchie Glen,my third ever record for there.
On my previous visit up a nice count of 1140 Manx Shearwaters passed the caravan in an hour. And on the Mull of Galloway in with the masses of Guillemot and Razorbill at least 20 Puffins. From the Mull a Minke Whale was seen heading north and a few Harbour Porpoise offshore.

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Just got back from a few days at my caravan, the first for 6 months because of lockdown.
When we arrived quite a strong southerly wind was pushing the seabirds close inshore. A couple of hours seawatching from the comfort of the caravan produced a couple of hundred Manx Shearwaters, together with similar numbers of Gannets,Kittiwakes,Razorbill and Guillemot with a party of 3 Red Throated Divers moving west. Also a couple of Black Guillemots ,Eiders and Shelduck were passing,and a couple of days later a cracking sum plum Great Northern Diver was sat on the sea giving great views.
Around the caravan site a few Wheatears and Linnet were feeding on the grass ,and singing Sedge,Willow Warbler,Chiffchaff and Whitethroat could be heard from the van with plenty of Swallows and odd House Martin feeding overhead On the beach a passage of Whimbrel,Sanderling,Dunlin and Ringed Plover were seen every day.
Nearby Auchie Glen had plenty of common migrants with Spotted Flycatcher seen on a couple days. And the weather was red hot with unbroken sunshine and no wind for 4 days,bonus!!!

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Got back middle of last week after a weeks birding up on The Rhinns.
On the beach by the caravan plenty of Turnstone,Dunlin,Ringed Plover, Curlew,Oystercatcher and singles of Grey Plover ,Bar Tailed Godwit,and Sanderling. On the fields adjacent to the beach several small flocks (20+) of both Twite and Linnet.
Did a few mornings vis migging on the nearby Mull of Ga?loway,nothing too rare but 747 birds of 10 species in an hour and half was the biggest number of the week,with the highlights 22 Whooper Swans and 2 Yellowhammers .
A couple of miles up the road and impressive flock of over 1000 Golden Plover, at least 100 Lapwing ,several hundred small gulls and a single Ruff were all feeding in the same field. On the nearby Luce Bay a few Red Throated Divers back,together with several small flocks of Common Scoter,a scattering of Black Guillemots and still large numbers of Razorbill feeding offshore.
Auchie Glen was pretty quiet although a Long Eared Owl was a nice find,as were the flock of 250+ Fieldfare with a few Mistle Thrush and Redding for company. A late party of 5 Swallows on the 16th feeding over the Glen.
Loch Ryan held a very late juvenile White Winged Black Tern which was hawking insects over the nearby fields rather than over the water!!!. Plenty of the usual birds on the Loch,Red Throated Divers, Eiders,Red Breasted Mergansers etc.



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A few days staying in Castle Douglas. Weather was hit and miss but managed to see plenty of Greylag, Pink-footed and Barnacle Geese. A few White-fronted Geese on the east bank of Loch Ken just outside Crossmichael. Red Kites and Common Buzzards everywhere but no Hen Harriers. Peregrine perched on top of Threave Castle, and Ravens displaying overhead.

2 pairs of Black Guillemot in Portpatrick harbour, but zero visibility at Loch Ryan so only picked out a few Eider and Shag in the murk. 75 species seen in total over two days which ain't bad considering the weather.



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Just back from a few days at my caravan,after a very successful trip.The weather was very windy when I arrived,and an hour seawatch from my caravan produced a big passage of Razorbills,Gannets,and Kittiwakes,a few Eiders,Red Throated Divers and a single Great Skua.
I spent a few mornings vis migging on the Mull Of Galloway,which was very productive,some of the highlights were 831 skylarks in one hour,a few late Swallows,Brambling,a Merlin present every day chasing all the passing migrants,and a Great Spotted Woodpecker which was most unexpected!!We also found a Black Redstart around the lighthouse.(all the counts are on Trektellen)
Auchie Glen was a bit quiet with a maximum of 6 Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap,but there was a decent fall of at least 30 Coal Tits and 60+ Goldcrests on the 15th.There was also at least 3000 Pink-footed Geese on the nearby fields.
Luce Bay had 11 Great Northern Divers and 37 Red Throated Divers on the 15th,and a summer plumaged Black Throated Diver and a very late Sandwich Tern.
An hour at West Freugh in the evening was very productive with 3 Hen Harriers,a single Marsh Harrier(only the 3rd one I've seen up there in 40 years!!),2 Short Eared Owls hunting right in front of us,a hunting Barn Owl and a Merlin.We also had over a 1000 Pink-footed geese flying in at dusk which presumably had just arrived from Islay?
Loch Ryan was as usual full of winter wildfowl,2 Red Necked Grebes were the highlight,with over 20 Slavonian Grebes counted from one spot.Plenty of divers,Scoters etc were present,but it was a bit too early for any Long Tailed Ducks.
There were still a few Wheatear about and a flock of 1000+ Golden Plover was nice,but unfortunately no American Golden Plover with them this year.Several flocks of Whooper Swans were about with the biggest flock containing 40 birds.We also found a 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull which is still a rarish bird up there.



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Thanks Chris for the input, much appreciated, and certainly interesting information you've got there. Apparently I was only 3 days out! - but, it was just an impression I was under (which is why i cautiously said ONE of the first) as a couple of keen locals were keen to find out where I saw those house Martins since they haven't seen them at all yet.

Anyway, I spoke to a lady at the Osprey viewing platform in the area and she showed me all the dates of the arrival and certain behaviour etc of the ospreys which I thought was most amazing as a patten tends to emerge!

I wanted to visit the coast myself for black guillemot but never did get chance. But my favourite moment of all 4 days was the kingfisher, an opportunity that was specially planned for my visit by my friend who lives up there!!

Many Thanks indeed!

-- Edited by Richard Thew on Saturday 14th of April 2018 09:20:09 AM

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Richard,
I was up in D&G last week 30/3 to 8/3 staying about 10 miles inland from Dumfries. I record the arrival dates of hirundines each year in the village. Last year I had swallow 30/3, this year 7/4 - so a bit later, but I did not witness a large scale movement.

A local farmer has built a small loch on his land as a community wildlife asset, which is great, and I am enjoying watching it mature. On this visit I had;

Sand Martin - 4 on 3/4
Common Sandpiper - 3/4
Osprey - 3/4 - a great records .... especially as there are no fish in the Loch yet. It worked that out pretty quick and moved on
Swallow - first on 7/4 - 1 along with 20 sand martin
House Martin - first on 8/4 - 1 along with 6 swallow and 8 sand martin

They may have been a bit earlier, but the weather was so poor I was not out and about as much as I would have liked.

Only made one trip to the coast and got gannet, Red throated diver, black guillemot and little egret.

Chris

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The final 48 hours, - total species 79.

New Highlights today includes (on a trip around Castle Douglas); 46 species

The first House Martins has arrived up here now, in fact it seems that I'm one of the first in the area to find them according to some of the chats I have had with some of the locals.
Also Treecreeper,
2 male Blackcaps,
Peregrine,
Osprey flew near and hovered briefly over the river Dee,
Great spotted woodpecker close from the National Trust gardens
Jay,

Yesterday included curlew, redshank, Dippers, grey wagtail- one briefly close to 5ft, kingfisher and goosander!

Ta!


-- Edited by Richard Thew on Friday 13th of April 2018 05:18:08 PM

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The last 48 hours has been unbelievable!!!

With a total of 70 species, the highlights include....

A special arranged trip for kingfisher viewing with unbelievable close views,
Goosander female having a bath close
Osprey
Peregrine
Goldeneye
Wigeon
Over a dozen Scaups

Today,

Siskin & Redpoll,
Willow tits at Ken-dee marshes along with great spotted woodpecker, raven, stock dove, fieldfare and redwings, common gulls and a suprise- a Mediterranean gull!!!

I finished today at the red kite feeding station, not as thrilling as the experience I had last July/Aug in mid-Wales, but still addictive to enjoy the thrills and spills, especially when two had a scrap and chase with each other so close you could hear clearly the air rushing through their feathers!

My pictures will take a while to sort, especially without a proper way of sorting them out at the moment. However, I have (only) been able to and will be putting a couple from yesterday on my Flickr page tonight.

Ta!

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Just spent a week in Upper Nithsdale;
The hundreds of redwing I saw a few weeks ago have moved on and only a few still around. The rowans are bare. At the beginning of the week we had roving parties of c30-50 Fieldfare mainly on the hawthorns but even these seemed to thin out as the week progressed.
In the pine forests there are plenty of active crossbill but few siskin. Several sightings of woodcock. Only the odd Brambling in the Chaffinch flocks - I expected more.
Garden feeders mainly contained chaffinch and coal tit - no siskin and only a few goldfinch.
You couldn't drive a mile without seeing Kite and Buzzards.
Chris

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Just got back from a few days at my caravan,there were still 4 Swallows feeding over the site when I arrived on the 24th and a late Wheatear was feeding round the site as well.When I was driving down I saw a big flock of Golden Plover over some fields about 3 miles from my caravan so went to check them out the following day.There were over 1000 birds in the flock plus about 450 Lapwing and 4 Ruff.I decided to start looking from the rhs of the flock and the 3rd bird I looked at was an American Golden Plover!!Glad I didn't start from the lhs!!.I've attached a poor record shot of the bird as unfortunately the battery had run down on my camera and I had to phone scope the bird,it's the one in the centre at the back.
Elsewhere in Luce Bay there was a flock of 1000+ Common Scoter wth at least 3 Velvet Scoter with them,a few Red Throated and Great Northern Diver about(some of the GNDs in full sum plum still),a few late Razorbills still .,3 Little Egrets at Sandhead was noteworthy.A sighting of 2 Sandwich Terns on the 30th was the latest I've seen up there.
Around the caravan site there was a nice flock of approx 40 Twite in the next field and on the beach an adult Med.Gull was a site tick for me.Still a few waders about on the beach inc. 5 Bar Tailed Godwits,lots of Curlew,a few Turnstones,Redshank and Ringed Plover.
Down Auchie Glen a couple of late Blackcaps on the 27th and around The Mull at least 2 Merlins and a couple of Peregrines hunting any late migrants going through.Nearby a nice flock of 452 Teal with a few Wigeon and an hybrid Herring x LBB gull in a flloded field and 32 Whooper Swans on another fllooded area,and at least 3000 Pinkfeet in the general area.
On loch Ryan at least 20 Slavonian Grebes,2 Red Necked Grebes and 2 Long Tailed Ducks were back,plus numbers of Red Throated Divers,Scaup,Eider etc.
All in all a most enjoyable few days birdingsmile

-- Edited by pete berry on Saturday 4th of November 2017 02:41:34 PM



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Couple of Days in Nithdale.
Plenty of Redwing flocks moving ESE. Between 9-10 am yesterday I counted 1000+ from my garden in groups of 20-50. Odd fieldfare with them. Similar movement the day before but not as many, and heard them overnight.
Plenty of Crossbill active and calling in the pine forests
Chaffinch flocks gathering to feed below beeches along the roads but didn't manage to pick out any brambling yet.
Red Kites now common in the valley as they have spread from the Loch Ken area.
Chris


-- Edited by Chris Sutton on Friday 20th of October 2017 11:52:52 AM

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Just back from a weeks birding with a mate of mine,we got off to a good start with the Red Head Smew still at Milton Loch and great views of the Golden Eagle,its "golden head" glowing in the sunlight ,and at least 10 Red Kites on the way up.On the beach in front of caravan the Pale Bellied Brent flock had increased to 74 and on the nearby Mull Of Galloway 4 Twite,2 Wheatears,8 Snipe a Jack Snipe and a Hooded Crow were nice to see.Nearby down Auchie Glen at least 8 singing Chiffchaffs.
On Luce Bay at Terally Bay in flat calm conditions we had an impressive count of 109 Red Throated Divers and 3 Great Northerns from the same spot.Also around Luce Bay good numbers of Common Scoter,Red Breasted Mergansers and a Slavonian Grebe,plus a few newly arrived Sandwich Terns.
On Loch Ryan we had at least 18 Slavonian Grebes,some in superb summer plumage,several Long Tailed Ducks,stunning close views of summer plumage Red Throated Divers,a couple of Velvet Scoters,plus plenty of other sea duck,Common Scoter,Eider and displaying Black Guillemots etc.We also had 3 brief views of a close 1st.year White Billed Diver which unfortunately disappeared before we could get any photos,one that got away!!!!
Around West Freugh at least 3000 Pinks and smaller numbers of Greylag and Greenland Whitefronts,plus on a nearby loch 100+ Sand Martins and a single Swallow.By the end of the week there were several Swallows in the area.
We had a run over to Wigtown and Crook of Baldoon reserve where there were a couple of thousand Barnacle Geese,and simialar numbers of Pinks and a flock of 3000+ Golden Plover.Out on the merse we had excellent views of a couple of perched female Merlins.

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On the beach in front of caravan a nice flock of 33 Pale Bellied Brent Geese,a few passing Gannets and Fulmars over the sea.The usual wintering flock of Twite seemed to have moved on.
On Luce Bay a nice flock of 10 Long Tailed Ducks(all males!!),nearly 500 Common Scoter and a few Great Northern and Red Throated Divers were nice to see.
On Loch Ryan all the common Sea Duck,Red Breasted Mergansers,Eiders,Common Scoters,Scaup etc,also a few Slavonian Grebes which were starting to get into summer plumage and the usual array of divers were present in good numbers.On The Wig there were still about 40 Twite about.
Elsewhere there were several thousand Pink footed Geese scattered around and a flock of about 120 Greenland Whitefronts at West Freugh,and a nice herd of 40 odd Whooper Swans.
On the way home I popped into Auchenreoch Loch where there was a single Scaup amongst the Tufted Duck flock and at nearby Milton Loch I picked out a red headed Smew and single Long Tailed Duck amongst the many wildfowl present here.
img src="/download.spark?ID=2014825&aBID=96752" border="0" alt="RSCN3531.JPG" title="RSCN3531.JPG" />

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3 days in glorious sunshine around Upper Nithdale and the Inner Solway (2nd to 5th Jan).

Highlights;
Dalbeattie (Park) - 25+ Waxwings
Carlingwalk Loch (Castle Douglas) - Ring-necked Duck (great view of a very smart male). Plus kingfishers and good numbers of Little Grebe, Goldeneye and Goosander.
Moniaive/Upper Nithsdale - Brambling, Woodcock, Crossbill, Dipper, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, Raven
Carsethorn Beach to Southerness - Wader heaven - Oystercatcher, Redshank, Turnstone, Knot, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Greenshank, Curlew. Didn't manage to find Purple Sandpiper which are normally regular sightings here.
Sandyhills - Peregrine, Rock Dove

Shows there is lots of good birding in the area away from the main reserves of Mersehead, Dee Marshes and Caerlaverock - for the Geese and Ducks (currently American Wigeon and Green-winged Teal at the latter).

Still small flocks of winter thrushes around - mainly Fieldfares.

Chris




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A good count of Manx Shearwaters passing west last week in front of caravan during strong s.w. winds with a maximum of 2850 passing in one hour,and a grand total in 8 hours of at least 14,500 birds!! Unfortunately apart from a few Fulmars and Kittiwakes there was nothing else with them.Return wader passage is picking up with decent numbers of Ringed Plover,Dunlin,Sanderling,Turnstone,Curlew and the odd Bartailed Godwit and Whimbrel starting to appear.Also past the caravan in recent weeks Great Skua,few Arctic Skuas and a single Pomarine Skua.
I've recently been doing some Nightjar surveying on The Machars and to date have found up to 6 pairs at various sites smile


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Male and female ospreys on nest at Threeve Castle. Nesting peregrines in Castle.

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30 March to 2 April. Reports were quiet on the main costal reserves so headed elsewhere -
Inland Forests (in good weather) - plenty of buzzard, Crossbills over (but generally a poor year for this seeing this species). Sad news in the local press of a Goshawk nest being plundered last year.
Orchardston (coast near Castle Douglas) in great weather - Swallow (1) heading north - my earliest record in the last 10 years for D&G. Plus an early Tree Pipit. 2 Red Kite, 2 Buzzard, Scoter offshore, usual waders
Loch Ken - a large white raptor flew across the road 1 mile north of Crossmichael which was puzzling to ID. My instinct was right - having consulted a local raptor expert, I concluded it was a leucistic Buzzard which apparently had been reported in the area in previous years
Loch near Thornhill (in shocking weather) - 11 Sand Martin, 1 House Martin


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A few days over Easter,unfortunately weather not great so had to spend most of Saturday seawatching from caravan as too wet to go out but well worth it with

A party of 12 Great Northern Divers all asleep on the sea about 150yds out from caravan
A good passage of Fulmars,Kittiwakes,Gannets,Razorbills and Guillemots plus 3 Red Throated Divers passed a few pleasant hours.
On Sunday a nice male Wheatear was just in front of caravan and in the field next to site about 140 Twite were about,but mobile.
On the beach 41 Pale Bellied Brent Geese were still about and a few Turnstones,Ringed Plover,Curlew and a single Golden Plover
Nearby at Auchie Glen 3 early Chiffchaffs were seen,but other fairly quiet on the migrant front
Elsewhere still plenty of wild geese about including Greylags,Pinkfeet and Greenland Whitefronts.

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Just back from a quick couple of days visit,as with most of the country fairly quiet,the highlight was the overwintering Black Redstart on the east pier at Stranraer showing down to 10ft.
There was a nice flock of 61 Pale Bellied Brents on beach in front of caravan,with a few divers,auks and Gannets offshore,first of the breeding birds just starting to return.
Not many geese about probably due to the army testing out explosives for the last couple months not far from where they usually feed !!!,but plenty of returning Whooper Swans about as they make the journey back to Iceland.
On the way back home the pair of Golden Eagles were showing well as they thermalled about,and a few Red Kites were in same area.


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A few days again last week still had the flock of 80 Twite in the field next to caravan,and a high tide roost of 57 Turnstones.
On the 15th an amazingly late Common /Pallid Swift seen briefly before flying off and not relocated.
A count of divers along an 8 mile stretch of the west shore produced:-

45 Great Northern Divers
8 Red Throated Divers
1 Black Throated Diver

and at Stairhaven on the east Side of Luce Bay

5 Great Northern Divers
6 Red Throated Divers
3 Slavonian Grebes
200+ Common Scoter

Still plenty of geese at at West Freugh,and the roost produced

3 Hen Harriers including a stonking male
and a hunting Short Eared Owl



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Another few days at my caravan,joys of being retiredsmileTrip started of well with finding a male Black Redstart on The Mull Of Galloway,and at least 80 Twite in field next to caravan.On the beach in front of van a single Sanderling,40 Turnstone,small numbers of Dunlin,Redshank,Curlew,2 Pale Bellied Brents and at least 40 Rock Pipits.In the general area 3 Brambling and a Tree Sparrow(extremely rare bird for the area) with a large flock of Chaffinch feeding on a stubble field.
At West Freugh the Ridgeways Cackling Canada Goose was with 6000 Pinkfeet and took a bit of time to locate,also good numbers of Greylags,a couple hundred Greenland White Fronts,and a few Barnacle Geese made up this impressive flock of mainly wild geese.At the nearby roost a couple of Ring Tail Hen Harriers came in as did a Merlin and a Short Eared Owl.There was also a a small flock of Whooper Swans nearby.
On Luce Bay there was a nice flock of 200+ Common Scoter,a couple of Great Northern Divers,12 Scaup,still a few Razorbills about and at least 3 overwintering Greenshank.
Loch Ryan had plenty of Slavonian Grebes with at least 50 seen from just two stops,4 cracking winter plumaged Long Tailed Ducks,a couple of Great Northern Divers and a few Red Throated Divers,plus all the usual suspects.A Little Egret at Soleburn was noteworthy as they are still a bit of a scarcity up there.A census of Snipe at a marsh known locally as Snipe Bog !! produced 56 Snipe and a single Jack Snipe.
On the last morning before coming home I had a Pomarine Skua over the sea in front of the caravan harrassing the local Herring Gulls,a good finish to a nice few days birding,and luckily most of the rain fell overnight leaving the days mainly dry.

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Had a half-term break in the Dumfries area and would like to thank Pete Berry for the info on sites to visit.
Of note:-
RSPB Mersehead - Barnacle Geese
RSPB Ken Dee Marshes - Hen Harrier, Red Kite
Loch Ryan - Rock Pipit, Brent Geese, Whooper Swans, Eider.
West Freugh - Hen Harrier ( x3), Peregrine, Merlin, Greenland Whitefront Geese, absolutely thousands of small prey birds and an abundance of pheasants, no wonder this is a raptor haven.

Within a day of putting a feeder up at the cottage we stayed in, 5 feet from the back of the house :- robin, dunnock, wren, coal tit, great, tit, blue tit, goldfinch, chaffinch, kestrel sat on a rock in the field behind, along with jay, carrion crows and a magpie, then a cow ate the feeder!!!


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Just had another few days up there before the autumn migration dries up.Managed to find another Yellow Browed Warbler down Auchie Glen on the 25th,also a Chiffchaff there and a late Blackcap there,this Yellow Browed showed really well and even "posed" for a few pics yesterday.

On the 27th there was an amazing fall of at least 10,000 thrushes in the area,composed mainly of Fieldfare,with smaller nos. of Redwing and a few Blackbirds,Song and Mistle Thrushes making up the numbers,an impressive site as every hedgerow and field was full of birds.There were also at least 4,000 Starlings in the same fall!!!

On the 28th I did a vis mig on The Mull of Galloway and had an excellent 3hrs:-

1441 Skylark

1125 Fieldfare

15 Redwing

128 Meadow Pipits

24 Raven

438 Linnet

12 Pied Wagtails

2 Stonechat

5 Reed Buntings

5 Goldcrests

30 Chaffinch

3 Blackbird

9 Song Thrush

1 Redpoll

196 Starling

1 Merlin

8 Lapwing

2 Swallows

1 Sparrowhawk.

And yesterday on the beach by caravan a flock of approx 800 Golden Plover roosting at high tide and 2000+ Pinkfeet (in several skeins)over caravan site.

smile

 



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Got back a few days ago from a couple of weeks birding which got off to a good start with a ringtail Hen Harrier hunting over the back of the caravan site as I arrived,and got even better later in afternoon when a pod of 30 Bottlenose Dolphins appeared on the sea in front of caravan and spent the next hour performing up and down the bay(some nice footage on youtube,google in- bottlenose dolphins mull of galloway).I also had a couple of Merlin sightings around the site and a Barn Owl put in an appearance at dusk posing on top of its breeding barn at rear of site.
I spent some time helping the wardens on The Mull with the vis mig.Highlightswere 666 Skylarks in an hour and half,lots of Linnets,Meadow Pipits,Swallows etc,an impressive flock of 27 Ravens,and daily sightings of one or more Merlin taking advantage of the abundant food supply.Other birds of note were Short Eared Owl,Hen Harrier, a couple of Red Throated Divers and a Whooper Swan.
At nearby Auchie Glen I found a Yellow Browed Warbler which unfortunately was very elusive due to the still abundant leaf cover.Also a Spotted Flycatcher present till 12th Oct,a couple of male Blackcaps and 2 probable northern race Coal Tits,as well as other common migrants like Redwing etc.Also quite interesting for there was a late Hummingbird Hawkmoth(6th Oct) and a Speckled Wood butterfly which is only the third or fourth record for this area.
Luce Bay had small nos. of Red Throated Divers back from their breeding grounds(some still in breeding plumage).Also a nice flock of 600+Common Scoter and over a 1000 Razorbills feeding on the large Herring shoals that are around at the moment.Also still plenty of Gannets feeding on the same Herring shoals.
Loch Ryan held good nos. of returning Slavonian Grebes,again some still in partial sum plum,plenty of Red Throated Divers,Scaup,Wigeon,Red Breasted Mergansers,Eider plus a few Med Gulls,Knot etc.
There were still numbers of Swallows in the area with a flock of 50 plus on the 9th,and a few still about on the 16th,with a late Wheatear the same day.Reasonable nos. of Whooper Swans were seen as well as some impressive flocks of Pinkfeet and the first of the wintering Greenland Whitefronts back round their wintering area at West Freugh.

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Had another week up there last week,plenty of spring migration in action with up to 14 Whimbrel,13 White Wagtails and a nice flock of 26 Sanderling on beach in front of caravan and good numbers of Sandwich Terns fishing offshore.Still a Purple Sandpiper a few Pale Bellied Brent Geese about,but all the Twite have disappeared.
A count of divers in Luce Bay produced 36 Great Northern(most in summer plumage),5 Red Throated and a single Black Throated Diver were noted.
A trip on the moors near Stranraer was very productive with up to 3 Short Eared Owls hunting at any one time,sightings of Hen Harrier,Barn Owl,Whinchat,Stonechat and Red Kite made for a very pleasant couple of hours birding.
Lots of common passerines about including a nice fall of 7 Sedge Warblers in a 200yd stretch of beachside scrub and a Lesser Whitethroat was a unusual sighting.On Loch Ryan there were still 200+ Scaup and 3 Dark Bellied Brent Geese were unusual for this part of the country(always Pale Bellied).
Finally on the way home prolonged views of the Golden Eagle,which for part of the time was being mobbed by a Buzzard,giving a true prospective of the size difference.smile

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Just back from a few days at my new caravan,a flock of 100 Twite in the field next to my caravan was a good start,as was the 36 Pale Bellied Brent geese on the beach and a high tide roost of 18 Purple Sandpipers a few minutes walk down the beach.Offshore at least 3 Great Northern Divers,a couple of Red Throated Divers,Gannets,Black Guillemots,and a Fulmar was a good start to my caravan list.
Plenty of geese around the area,2000+ Pink Feet,200 Greenland Whitefronts,Greylags,a few Barnacles and the overwintering Ridgeways Cackling Canada Goose(of unknown/dubious origin?).
On Luce Bay a few Long Tailed Ducks,plenty of Common Scoter,a few Slavonian Grebes and a Little Egret on the shore,but the highlight was the juv. White Tailed Eagle which has been overwintering seen several times.Also an adult Iceland Gull at Stranraer was good to see,as was he male Hen Harrier flying past the car whilst watching a flock of Pink feet.
On the way home called up to the Mennock Pass for the Rough Legged Buzzard.

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15th & 16th November

Caerlaverock - usual Green-winged Teal, Barnacle Goose in good but not spectacular numbers, a pale-bellied Brent which we missed, and male and Ring-tail Hen Harriers. At nigh one Badger, and both Barn and Tawny Owls on reserve.

Loch Ryan - Slavonian Grebe, Red-throated and Great Northern Diver, Scaup, pale-bellied Brent Geese, Black Guillemot

West Freugh - 2 ring-tail Hen Harrier, 1 adult male, Greenland Whitefronted Goose - c12 but probably more, Red Kite near Castle Douglas.

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Just got back from my last trip of year and although apart from a partial eclipse drake American Wigeon on Loch Ryan there was nothing else unusual about there were still plenty of birds to see
Loch Ryan
Some impressive numbers of birds on the Loch with at least 65 Slav Grebes some in parties of up to 6 birds and a few still in sum plum,also plenty of Red Throated Divers about ,flocks of up to 10 birds together, again some still in full sum plum.A single flock of 165 Red Breasted Mergansers was impressive as was a mid October Sandwich Tern .Also on the Loch good numbers of Eider,Great Crested Grebes,Wigeon,Scaup and a few Mediteranean Gulls, late Gannets about,and the first of the wintering Pale Bellied Brent Geese beginning to arrive.
Nearby a flock of 14 Whooper Swans on Loch Connel was good to see,
Luce Bay
Common Scoter flocks totalled over 2000 birds,numbers of Both Red Throated and Great Northern Divers about with most of the GNDs still in full sum plum,handsome birds!!Quite a few Greenshank still around the bay(probably overwintering birds) 5 Little Egrets together was noteable for here and a flock of 1600 Golden Plovers roosting on the beach was close enough to scope,unfortunately nothing rarer amongst then.Also plenty of Auks feeding offshore with smaller numbers of Eiders.
Plenty of raptors about,with up to 3 Merlin seen daily,also good numbers of Peregrine,Buzzard,Sparrowhawk sightings and a couple of Hen Harriers seen well,and a Red Kite well away from the introduction area was good to see.Still plenty of Swallows when I arrived with numbers tailing off as the week progressed,a few Chiffchaffs around still and the first of the autumns Redwings just beginning to arrive.
On the Mull of Galloway plenty of viz mig of common migrants,Skylarks,Meadow Pipits,Linnets,GoldfinchTwite,Swallows,but perhaps the most interesting thing was the numbers of Red Admiral butterflies migrating southward out to sea,something I've never seen before,also a single Painted Lady with them !!
Also quite interesting there are the large numbers of corvids(including Ravens) which gather every morning and after a very noisy fly round for 15 minutes or so head out to sea,only to return 5 minutes later,and this happens every morning !!! I can only assume corvids really don't like flying over water.

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Couple of trips up recently,in May I had 5 spooned up Pom Skuas flying close past my caravan,and excellent views of an Otter fishing just in front of caravan,catching a flatfish and hauling out on the rocks just below to eat it.On the way home from that visit I called at Seafield and had a further two Pom Skuas and a Great Skua.
Highlight of this last weeks visit was the male Honey Buzzard giving prolonged views as it did its "wing clapping" display flight,then flying down the valley right over my headsmile
I also had great views of a male Hen Harrier as it spent some time hunting on the moorland around its traditional nesting site,apparently the same site has been used since 1967 !!
From my caravan I saw a pod of 4 Harbour Porpoise feeding out in the bay,with a constant trickle of Manx Shearwaters passing through and today a Greenshank on the beach was presumably an early returning failed breeder.Also had distant views of the otter feeding offshore.At theMull of Galloway amongst the large rafts of Auks I found 4 Puffins sitting on the sea.
No luck with the Golden Eagle this visit but a soaring Goshawk in the area together with a few red Kite were a nice bonus.
Finally a call into Threave on the way home today gave good views of the nesting Osprey with 2 young just about visible in the nest.

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Just back from my first visit of the year to my caravan after an excellent weeks birding.
It started with a flock of 226 Greenland Whitefronts at West Freugh,and at my next stop I found a drake Smew and saw down to 20ft. the Slavonian Grebe that had been around all winter at Soulseat Loch.Onto Loch Ryan where I found a 2nd winter Kumliens Gull and two 2nd.winter Med. gulls.At nearby Loch Connell there was a flock of 5000 Pink Footed geese in the surrounding fields and 14 Goosanders on the loch.
Next day at Pilanton burn at the head of Luce Bay there were 2 Little Egrets.
The following day I caught up with the overwintering adult Iceland Gull on Loch Ryan,also on the loch 8 Long Tailed Ducks,6 Great Northern Divers,2 Black Throated Divers and 67 Red Throated Divers,plus an adult Med Gull.
The following day I checked out Luce Bay and from 5 different places on the west side of the bay logged 69 Great Northern Divers,18 Red Throated Divers,6 Black Throated Divers,3 Slavonian Grebes ,160+ Common Scoter and 2 overwintering Greenshank.Also in the general area 43 Whooper Swans,900 Golden Plover,and 6400 Pink footed Geese.
After hearing that a Hoopoe had been wintering at Leswalt I decide to check it out,and managed to find the bird feeding on a grassy lawn,a nice find,and on the way back found another Iceland Gull on Loch Ryan,this time a 3rd.winter bird.
Not bad for my first trip up,hopefully it can only get bettersmile

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Just got back from a few days in D&G, the highlights being:

Whooper Swans, Barnacle Geese and Yellowhammers at Caerlaverock.
c15 Purple Sandpipers at Southerness Point.
Great Northern Diver down to 10 metres at Drummore.
Male and female Scaup at Loch Ryan.
Pink-footed Geese along A75 near Kirkcudbright.
Red Kites at Bellymack Hill Farm, Laurieston.

Lots of other birds were seen too including Red-throated Diver, Rock Pipit, Red-breasted Merganser, Slavonian Grebe, Eider Duck, Black Guillemot. I only really dipped on Twite and the Green-winged Teal. I didn't have time to go for the White-fronted Geese at Loch Ken and I was too knackered to go for the Starlings at Greta on the way home.

I can thoroughly recommend this region if you've never been an I can't wait to go back for my third time. A few photos will appear each day over the next week on my Flickr site.

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Quick call in to Caerlaverock WWT on way to Dumfries on Wednesday 18th December - Green-Winged Teal on Folly Pond, still there according to WWT website.

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Just back from a few days at my caravan,highlight was probably the count of 51 Great Northern Divers on Luce Bay within 5 miles of my caravan,also a couple of Red Throated Divers,plenty of Eiders and a few Common Scoters seen in the bay.
At the top of the bay at Pilanton Burn a Spoonbill and a Little Egret were noteworthy,500+ Wigeon,lots of Redshank,Oystercatchers and Curlew as well.
Plenty of geese about,Pinkfeets,Greylags,Greenland Whitefronts and 60 Brent Geese on Loch Ryan.At West Freugh harrier roost,2 male and a ring tailed Hen Harrier put in an appearance as well as a Merlin and Peregrine hunting the area.
On Loch Ryan the biggest nos. of Slavonian Grebes I've ever seen there,with at least 50 birds present,also large nos. of Eiders,Red Breasted Mergansers,Scaup and a few Red Throated Divers.On The Wig a mixed flock of 500 Twite/Linnets were wintering in the usual fields,and at least 700 Golden Plovers roosting there.
Also seen near The Mull a few passage birds still going through including Skylarks,Siskins,Goldfinch,Redpoll,Meadow Pipits and a couple of Brambling.
Plenty of flocks of Whooper swans moving through the area with over 60 birds seen in total,most of which will probably end up at Martin Mere although a few do overwinter in the area.

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Off to Caerlaverock this weekend for our annual trip.


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Browhouses; Solway Estuary... first visit..highish tide
Saturday pm 1500-1615
Greenshank
Little Egret
Redshank 2
Mute Swan
Curlew
Lapwing 54
Cormorant
Lesser Black-backed Gull 6
Black-headed Gull 2
Swallow 3
Goosander 3
Grey Heron 2
smile

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Just had another couple of trips up there,had great views of Golden Eagle on both trips,including a 10 minute fly around when it was being mobbed by 3 Ravens,the size difference was very noticeable.
There were plenty of Manx Shearwaters in Luce Bay had I had a count of 1080 birds passing south on just one hour.
I caught up with the Yellow Legged Gull as it made its third July visit to Loch Ryan,and is now a full adult,lots of waders now on the loch,including summer plumaged Knot,Dunlin,Sanderling,Black Tailed Godwits,and the first retuning Scaup of the winter,and a stunning sum.plum. Red Throated Diver very close in.
A couple of Med Gulls had returned including one feeding in front of caravan.
3 Harbour Porpoise seen from my caravan were very nice,but completely outclassed by the Fin Whale which both myself and my missus saw 5 times ,before disappearing past the point biggrin

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Back again from another week in D&G,a bit quiet as is to be expected this time of year,some of the more interesting sightings:-

A few Puffins off The Mull Of Galloway were nice to see,but even more enjoyable was watching the Harbour Porpoise off here,with a maximum count of 14 individuals seen due to the flat calm conditions.Also of note was a Basking Shark feeding offshore.At Corsewall Point a couple of hours seawatching produced a late Arctic Skua going north,plenty of Manx Shearwaters,Fulmar,Sandwich Terns,Gannets and Auks moving through.Elsewhere a nice flock of 14 Sanderling in various plumages were good to see in early June,and plenty of Spotted Flycatchers now moving through,and a trip up to the fells above Stranraer was rewarded with nice views of Whinchat,Stonechat,lots of Redpolls and good numbers of bubbling Curlew on breeding territory,but unfortunately no sign of any breeding Hen Harriers or Short Eared Owls this year.
A couple of hours on the way home at the Honey Buzzard site gave superb views of these ace birds,well worth the trip up there alone,as were the Otter seen on two nights in front of my caravansmile

-- Edited by pete berry on Tuesday 11th of June 2013 10:41:08 AM

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pete berry wrote:

Yeh,at Annan you sit right opposite the other end of the viaduct at Bowness,so in theory you should see exactly the same birds.Some of the birds come through sat on the water,whereas others come through high up,and all points in between,so the more pair of eyes the better.The prime time for the skuas seems to be couple of hours either side of the high tide,with a s.w. wind apparently the best,although the skuas will come through at other times and with other wind directions.There's most likely a web site with gen. on it for the Bowness On Solway side,with prime dates etc.etc. Well worth a trip up if you can catch it on a good day,its quite a spectacle,and a lot nearer than The Hebs.





The only downside to viewing from the Annan side is that you will have the sun in your eyes.

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Yeh,at Annan you sit right opposite the other end of the viaduct at Bowness,so in theory you should see exactly the same birds.Some of the birds come through sat on the water,whereas others come through high up,and all points in between,so the more pair of eyes the better.The prime time for the skuas seems to be couple of hours either side of the high tide,with a s.w. wind apparently the best,although the skuas will come through at other times and with other wind directions.There's most likely a web site with gen. on it for the Bowness On Solway side,with prime dates etc.etc. Well worth a trip up if you can catch it on a good day,its quite a spectacle,and a lot nearer than The Hebs.

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Hi Pete
Fantastic Skuas nos!!
Just a quick query...would you have seen the same from the Cumbrian side, Bowness etc and what time of day, wind direction was it?
Cheers
Nevconfuse

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Is it a two berth, Pete? At least half a dozen lifers for me there smileawwwink

-- Edited by John Doherty on Wednesday 15th of May 2013 09:57:14 PM

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