Monday, 22 October 2007
SOLWAY: Lesser Canada Goose & Fieldfares Galore!
On Saturday 20th Oct we left Preston late morning for the Solway, arriving at Southerness in time for some late afternoon birding at the point. Lots of birds near the lighthouse as the tide came in including good numbers of Oystercatchers, Knot and Curlew but just a few Ringed and Golden Plovers. A Merlin dashed past the point but best of all was a nice flock of 30 or so Twites on the beach. We had great views of these at very close quarters, noting their stange "wheezy" call as the flitted around the saltings. I managed a shot of one that kept still for a moment (above).
The next day we took a trip out to the Mull of Galloway and it was obvious that there was a big "winter thrush" movemnet underway. We noted hundreds of Fieldfares filtering south throughout most of the day, mainly near the southern tp of the Mull. Smaller numbers of Redwings were overhead too. Otherwise the most interesting birds were Peregrine, 25 Whooper Swans and a Carrion x Hooded Crow hybrid. We ended our day at Loch Ryan in Wig Bay at the wader roost: 350 Golden Plovers, 40 Ringed Plovers, 2 Knot, 5 Dunlin and a dozen Scaup offshore. A late Wheatear and 50+ Twites were the only passerines of note. With the light fading fast we made our way back towards Stranraer to view the loch where we found a couple of adult Little Gulls and a Common Tern. Just the one Pale-bellied Brent Goose at Bishop Burn on the east side of the loch before we headed back towards Dumfries for the night.
Today we spent the whole day in the Southerness / Nith Estuary area We started at the point at high tide where a Great Northern Diver showed well offshore. Adult and 1st wtr Little Gulls and an Arctic Tern were the only ther birds of note but wader counts included 56 Golden Plovers, 10 Barwits and a single Grey Plover. Touring the rest of the Southerness area it was obvious that yesterday's thrush movement was continuing. We saw at least 700 Fieldfares between the point and Powillimount to the east of Southerness. At least 50 Redwings were associated with the roving Fieldfare flocks. We then moved round to Mersehead where a Lesser Canada Goose had been seen earlier in the morning with the several thousand Barnacles. The geese were very mobile by the time we arrived but 300+ Fielfares and 200+ Redwings were seen near the hides. We returned to Southerness via Loaningfoot where a couple of thousand Barnacles were scrutinised near the road, yielding the wished-for Lesser Canada Goose. Unfortunately when we returned a couple of hours later on our way home, the geese had departed. Our last stop on the Solway was on the Nith at Glencaple in search of a couple of Avocets that had been seen at the weekend. Unfortunately we were out of luck but a female Scaup here was noteworthy.