Highland Diary

Galloway Revisited

  • March 21, 2016
Willow Tit

Willow Tit

Earlier in the month I had to go down to Glasgow to collect my big lens from being serviced. With a reasonable forecast I decided to continue south and revisit some of my old haunts in Galloway. I wanted to fill in a couple of gaps in my picture library. I knew that both Nuthatch and Willow tit visited the bird feeders at the Ken Dee Marshes. The reserve is one of several RSPB Reserves that have come into being since we moved back to the Highlands  in 1975. Back then we had Willow Tits coming to our garden feeders but I don’t recall seeing Nuthatches in Galloway then. New too were Red Kites. Following their introduction they now abound around the feeding station at Bellymack near Lauriston where they provide a good afternoon’s entertainment for the photographer. Driving around Galloway now you see very many more Common Buzzards but sadly it appears that Kestrels, as in other places, are all but gone. A large herd of Whooper Swans still graze the fields on the Moss of Cree but I was unable pick out any Bewick’s Swans that once wintered there with them. Gone too were the thousands of Lapwings, Golden Plover and Curlews that once wintered in the fields adjacent to Wigton Bay. Presumably modern Agri-chemicals have stripped the soil of the invertebrate fauna that once supported the huge numbers of waders that wintered there. On the plus side it was nice to find that Little Egrets are now widespread in Galloway and that Solway’s burgeoning wintering Barnacle Goose population has reached west into Wigton Bay.