Sunday, 22 January 2012

From the Solway

21st January

This travelling circus of Naturetrek leaders called today at WWT Caerlaverock in Dumfries and Galloway, between events in Edinburgh and York. Whooper swans shone from the rushy pools and great herds of barnacle geese grazed the marshes, where a ringtail hen harrier was buffeted by an ice-vice wind. In the visitor centre, a highlight for me, were two tadpole shrimps Triops cancriformis in a tank. These weird, ancient creatures, unchanged in 270 million years, have recently been rediscovered in the Solway marshes, only their second site in the UK. Long may they flourish here in the excellent care of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

At the feeder in the car park was a busy horde of chaffinches, joined at times by a posse of yellow-flash greenfinches, a foursome of house sparrows (three males and a female), a solitary tree sparrow and a startling male yellowhammer. And all the while and all about were the clanging of barnacles and the breathy burbling of curlew.

How beautiful our birds of Britain are.


barnacle goose
Branta leucopsis
hen harrier
Circus cyanus
tree sparrow
Passer montanus
Emberiza citrinella

2012 Totals
Mammals: 9
Birds: 106
Reptiles: 0
Amphibians: 0
Fish: 0

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