Saturday, 7 September 2013

Ospreys on the Dee

A couple of Weeks ago I was on Holiday in the South-west of Scotland, one of my favourite areas of the U.K, with a stunning coastline, hills and an extraordinary amount of wildlife and not only this but one of few places where there are still wild areas to discover.
The main attraction to the area for wildlife is usually in the form of Wintering wildfowl, the area being an internationally important wintering site for a variety of species, but even without these northern visitors summer in Galloway can provide some excellent wildlife viewing, from Roe Deer to Sandpipers and Kites to Kingfishers.
During my time away I visited the Galloway forest park, with Wild Goats and the Red Deer range there was plenty to photograph and observe and a visit to Mersehead also provided me with excellent sightings of young Spotted Flycatchers and a small group of Wood Warblers, the former dropping from branch to branch whilst fly catching. I also managed to find a Green Sandpiper on a small flash by the side of a road not far from Kirkcudbright and a single Great Crested Grebe was also present on another flash not far before that, the flash was far from ideal for the species so in all likelihood it was simply passing through the area.
Whilst away I also became a Volunteer at the National Trust for Scotland's Threave Estate, this was a great opportunity as it gave me chance to watch the estates pair of Ospreys and their young for many hours whilst also talking to visitors about the species and the very birds they were looking at through the scopes  , if your passing the estate it is well worth looking around, it has a large amount of wildlife at any time of year and during the summer there is a relativity good chance you will see at least 1 osprey if not more!
My first day's volunteer gave excellent sightings of the Osprey family with several fish being brought in by the male including a pike and a flounder. a small number of Red Kites flying in the distance and several Buzzards also circled slowly above the fields in the distance, however the highlight for me was my first ever Hen Harrier, a female bird that drifted in typical Harrier fashion past the rather unhappy (to say the least!) Ospreys that looked on from the nest before the Harrier glided slowly towards the tree-line and neatly perching up in a small tree to the left of the nest, its fair to say I was rather happy, the ospreys on the other hand were not quite as impressed! for a good 10 minutes after the Harrier had departed the Ospreys chased and attempted to attack anything near the nest including a pair of rather startled pigeons! During the rest of the week I had some fleeting glimpses of the estates pair of Kingfishers as they skimmed low over the calm water of the River Dee, I wasn't lucky enough to catch up with any Otters though!
On my last day before leaving for home I was sat in one of the reserves hides for a good portion of the day and with a clear view of both the nest and the meander in the river bend it was the perfect spot to look at both the ospreys and anything else that may use the river. It was the ospreys though that put on the best show and to my surprise even began fishing in front of the hide.
One of the Juvenile birds made repeated attempts to fish on the bend in the river without much luck before simply giving up! The speed of an Osprey fishing as it dives towards the water for its target quarry is quite something to look at! although it took me nearly a week of watching to see it happen!
 On leaving the hide with Tom the Osprey Ranger at Threave, we with two other volunteers took a final look at the nest with the 2 Juveniles and both parents for the evening, I have been informed this was the last sighting of the Female as she has now departed for west Africa, she was probably fed up of hearing the young birds screeching at her!
For the moment here are a few pictures from the those two weeks and a few from Killingworth lake taken since I got back, my next post while contain a few more pictures from Sunderland Air show that I have so far not posted anywhere, thanks for looking!

Red Kite

Wild Goat

Wild Goat

Young Red Deer


Doe Red Deer

Osprey Hovering

'Molly'

 When I got back from Dumfries one of the first things I did was to go and look around Killingworth lake and to see how the Grebes were doing, at this point they were still fairly small although it was clear to see a marked difference between the different individuals in size alone, as always they were great to watch and I spent some time sitting watching them on the lake at distance.
I also managed to pick up 3 new patch ticks since I have returned in the form of Common Darter dragonfly, Common Hawker dragonfly and the best of all and the most brief sighting of the three a single Yellow wagtail!
A few early morning's have also provided some great light for photography, more of them in a future blog.

Common Darter

Mute Swan Sunset Killingworth lake

I've also spent quite a bit of time at Gosforth park sitting the hides waiting to see if anything turns up, I must add not my usual approach to getting pictures but it has given me some good but distant sightings of Bittern, Water Rail and a close up sighting of a bird I have actually really struggled to get decent pictures of in the past, the Common Buzzard, it circled the hide for about 10 minutes whilst being pursued by an on coming wave of Swallows that were rather annoyed with the intruder above!
However this wasn't the strangest sighting during my time in the hide as a Daubenton's bat made a brief appearance in the middle of the day skimming low over the water before disappearing over the reed bed.

Common Buzzard

Killingworth lake sunset
Thanks for looking and more pictures to follow soon! 

2 comments:

  1. A very nice variety of pics and as usual great quality!

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  2. Yep, quality is the word.
    A very nice write up.
    Brian.

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