Sunday, November 06, 2016

Sunday 'Twitch'

The last few days here in south-west Scotland have been spent enjoying the glorious, if not chilly weather and has even included a nearby 'twitch', Dee and I usually preferring to find our own birds.

Waxwings ~ Three of seven flighty birds
The unlikely 'twitch' took place on Sunday morning when we were informed that just 28 miles north in Moffat a small group of Waxwings were showing well. After breakfast we headed off and within the hour we were parked in the Old School car park, another lone birder also on site. Although unusually flighty we immediately spotted seven of these charismatic birds perched in the only tree in the car park. Within seconds they were off but after a short wait reappeared, this time in a bulging Rowan tree in the church grounds opposite.

Waxwing at Moffat
After enjoying the spectacle for nearly an hour and a coffee in the local coffee shop we headed off in search of Red Squirrels, one of Dee's favourite mammals.

We decided to check out Eskrigg Nature Reserve, which is located about 1.5 miles south-west of Lockerbie Town Centre, on the east side of South Turnmuir Plantation. Fascinatingly the reserve is on the site of a former curling pond built around the mid 19th century on land owned by the Castle Milk Estate. The site is now managed by Lockerbie Wildlife Trust and became a nature reserve in 1988. The area includes heathland, wetland and coniferous woodland and the Scots Pine is known to support a healthy population of Red Squirrel!

Red Squirrel ~ One of a number of Dee's photos!
It was a really enjoyable walk, encountering all the usual woodland species: Coal Tit, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Siskin and even Raven overhead. Of course the target today was Red Squirrel and thankfully we had no issues finding them. Three in fact, which fed quite happily in front of us, almost coming to within touching distance, much to the delight of the wife!