Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Crystal Clear day

Pink footed Geese
Another day in Galloway and this one was so different to yesterday.  Crystal clear and bright, with a cold breeze to keep you on your toes in more exposed areas.
We headed out on a wild goose-chase, looking for Barnacle geese in particular. We decided to try the Rhins of Galloway and struck lucky almost at once. We were diverted from the Drummore road along the side of the West Freugh MOD site, and discovered a large flock of geese grazing there. 
Brent geese in front of the ferry (across the bay!)
Brent Geese

The road was very straight allowing us to stop on the side and use the car as a mobile hide.   The geese were still nervous, and eventually took off and moved a few hundred yards further on, but not before I got a few shots off to show they were (I believe)  pink footed geese.
The Mull of Galloway itself was majestic as ever, but windy, and there were no birds in view apart from the usual cruising gulls - it is winter after all!
We headed to port Logan for lunch only to find the pub there was under some major reconstruction. The bay was pretty as usual, but only oyster catchers were there in any number.

Our final goal of the day was a fair bet for wildlife, with the added bonus of a garden centre for us to stock up on food for our pond fish (if it ever thaws before we leave!) We headed to Wigg bay aand started to walk to the spit. The tide was rising, and curlew and oystercatchers were heading off the beach to the fields.
Flock of Sanderling with ringed plover and turnstone
The place has changed a bit - at long last the new Stena ferry terminal had opened right opposite the spit and I had wondered if it would affect the birds. Not to worry - there were plenty in view, including grazing mute swans.  At first glance I thought the birds I noticed in the field were more oyster catchers, but closer inspection revealed more geese.  These were Brent geese, which unlike the earlier bean geese were way happier to allow us to look at them as we wallked past- the only concession was turning their backs in case they needed a quick take off.
Bar-tailed Godwit
Once at the spit we were rewarded with a wide range of waders - redshank, bar-tailed Godwit, sanderling, turnstones ringed plover, curlew, and knot. The turnstones were the stars, worrying at every bit of weed like minature bull dozers in their relentless search for food.
Along the beach a small group of shellduck wandered away, just keeping their safety margin from the walkers.

As the sun went down we headed back home, stopping for a treat - takeaway fish and chips from the Star in Stranraer - great day!


Widgeon grazing the tide line


  1. Looks like an awesome outing, nice to see all those birds.

  2. Just been catching up on your posts Marilyn, and you're certainly seeing some great birds there.