Trip report - south west Scotland

28th January 2015
Dates: 3rd to 6th January 2015

Destination: South west Scotland



Purpose of trip:

The purpose of my trip was to visit the Solway Firth coast of Dumfries and Galloway and various other sites in Dumfries and Galloway.

Primary target areas:

The primary target areas for wildlife watching were:

Solway Firth sites including Caerlaverock WWT reserve and Mersehead RSPB reserve

Rhins of Galloway (north): Loch Ryan and Wig Bay

Rhins of Galloway (south): Luce Bay, West Freugh, Sousleat Loch

Ken-Dee Marshes RSPB reserve

Getting there and getting around:

I travelled up to Carlisle by Virgin trains on 3rd January 2015 and returned on 6th January 2015 having obtained an extremely good value advance return ticket for £40.50. The train also provided an excellent sighting: Red Kite near Hemel Hempstead!

In Carlisle, I hired a car for the whole trip from Avis for £45.70 reduced by 9.45% cashback to £41.38.

I stayed in the Travelodge in Dumfries and by booking well in advance my 3 nights accommodation only cost £86 reduced by 2.1% cashback to £84.19.

Weather:

The weather during my trip was a mix of dry, sunny and cold conditions and cloudy and drizzly conditions.

Highlights:

During my short trip, I was able to record 84 bird species (a reasonable total for such a short trip) and 2 mammal species.

Trip list - south west Scotland

With regard to the birds, I was able to add 68 species to my 2015 list. This included a male Green-winged Teal at Caerlaverock WWT reserve, a scarce north American visitor to the UK.

Apart from the Green-winged Teal, the highlights were the very large numbers of Barnacle Geese, ducks and waders on the Solway Firth and the large numbers of sea duck on Loch Ryan.

The following summarises the notable wildlife species seen on my trip, many of the birds being first records for 2015.

Solway Firth (Mersehead-Southerness-Carsethorn-Caerlaverock): Green-winged Teal, Barnacle Goose, Whooper Swan, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Red-throated Diver, Great Crested Grebe, Heron, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Common Redshank, Turnstone, Lapwing, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Linnet, Roe Deer

Loch Ryan and Wig Bay: Whooper Swan, Red-throated Diver, Black Guillemot, Slavonian Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Scaup, Common Scoter, Goldeneye, Eider, Red-breasted Merganser, Shelduck, Mallard, Wigeon, Pintail, Black Guillemot, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Common Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Cormorant, Shag

Luce Bay: Great Northern Diver, Black-throated Diver, Common Scoter, Eider, Razorbill, Common Buzzard, Rock Pipit

West Freugh: Greenland White-fronted Goose, Curlew, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Roe Deer (no sign of reported White-tailed Eagle)

Sousleat Loch: Wigeon, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe (no sign of reported Smew)

Ken-Dee Marshes at Mains of Duchrae: Goldeneye, Teal, Mallard, Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Willow Tit, Fieldfare

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