Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Both Sides Of the Solway

Yesterday morning I did get up before first light with the intention of ringing at the Obs as I said in my previous blog posting, but it was raining! I waited and waited, and it didn't stop. I drifted off to sleep and awakened again at 7:00 am and still it rained; so I tried!

It was an even earlier start this morning, but for some reason I had a spring in my step when the alarm went off at 0345! Maybe it was because I was heading to the Solway! I had a bird survey to do for work in north Cumbria overlooking the Solway and afterwards it was my intention to spend a few hours birding the Scottish side. As I headed over Faulds Brow the thermometer on my car read a chilly minus 4! However, as I dropped down to my survey site thankfully the temperature lifted, but it was still hat and gloves weather this early in the day!

I was surveying some newly planted woodland on improved pasture and therefore the species range was limited. Of interest I had seven Goldfinches, two Song Thrushes, a Jay, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Stock Dove, two Chaffinches, two Greenfinches, three House Sparrows, a Blackcap, a Buzzard, a Siskin, three Lesser Redpolls, two Tree Sparrows and two Linnets.

After I had finished my survey I crossed over to the Scottish side of the Solway and had a walk from Browhouses to Torduff Point. A little bit of cloud had rolled in by now, but it was still a glorious morning and it had warmed up.

 Coastal Scrub

As soon as I got out of my car I could hear Blackcap and Willow Warbler singing, and in total I had two Blackcaps and eleven Willow Warblers. I love Willow Warbler song and it certainly raises the spirits.

 Willow Warbler

I had a look on the mudflats and river. On the river were five Goldeneyes, 21 Wigeon and a male Goosander. A selection of waders were on the mudflats including 20 Whimbrels, 29 Redshanks and eleven Black-tailed Godwits. In addition to the waders two Little Egrets were also feeding on the mudflats.  

I then headed west towards Torduff Point walking through the mature hedgerow and scrub. I had two Lesser Redpolls and a Siskin head east, but I also had six Lesser Redpolls feeding in the tops of the trees amongst the scrub. Three Reed Buntings, two singing Chiffchaffs, a Linnet, four Song Thrushes, two Chaffinches and twelve Goldfinches were also recorded in the coastal scrub.

The only raptor I had was a single Buzzard that was hunting over the adjacent grassland. Also on that side in the grassland habitat was two Stonechats and a buck Roe Deer that hadn't seen me, well for a while anyway. I took some pictures of him, but sadly they aren't as good as they should have been as I was 'shooting' through a chain link fence!

 Roe Deer


As the sun warmed the morning air a few butterflies were on the wing including two Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock. I've got another survey in this neck of the woods again tomorrow, and depending on the weather I might just cross the border again for some more Scottish birding! 

  Small Tortoiseshell

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