Finally I have added a post to Ian’s site.    I do have some good photos but as for great, I am not so sure.  As a beginner to DSLR photography I am still finding my way and experimenting; after a year there are still many functions on my camera that I have no idea what they do, and many of my photos are down to luck.  As a beginner to photography I have probably chosen the most difficult subjects – wildlife and in particular our avian friends. Two weekends ago myself, my wife and two of our friends spent the weekend in Dumfries and Galloway with the intention of seeing some geese.  At this time of year the Solway Firth provides a wintering ground for tens of thousands of geese, the majority of which are Barnacle Geese along with Canada, Greylag and Pink Footed. We arrived at our hotel on the Friday night with severe weather warnings in place and the prospect of a miserable day on the Saturday.  True to the forecast, the weather on the Saturday morning was wild with very high river levels on the River Nith and strong winds.  Full waterproofs were donned when we arrived at the WWT Caerlaverock reserve and five or so hours were spent ducking from hide to hide through the foul weather with plenty of geese to view but few other birds were braving the storm. I had resigned myself to the whole day being a washout, when at 3pm it was as if a switch had been pressed – the wind dropped and the sun came out.  As the sun came out we saw a female Sparrowhawk hovering on the wind – she was promptly mobbed by a crow and landed on a fencepost not far from the hide – unfortunately the light was still poor but I managed a couple of mediocre photos. On the way back from this hide after the sun had come out, I was dodelling along hoping for a good photo opportunity as the others left me behind.  My dodelling did prove a good opportunity.  As I was wandering down the track I spotted a hare sitting ‘drookit’ on an embankment only a few metres from the track and by far the closest view of a hare that I have had.  I expected him to dart off as soon as he saw me but instead he wandered slowly across the path allowing me to take a few snaps.  When I caught up with the others they had seen a flock of redwings which I had missed, but I was glad of my encounter with the hare. We  made our way back to the hide nearest to the visitor centre as the sun was setting for good views of many ducks and waders.  A sord of Mallards floated by, lining up for a good photo and a pair of Roe Deer came out to feed. After a warming cup of coffee at the visitor centre we made our way back to the hotel past a spectacular sunset for a hearty meal and a few pints. On the Sunday we had planned to visit the RSPB centre at Mereshead, but were scuppered by flooding on the access road.  We decided to drive to the nearby town and walk along the beach to the reserve which turned out to be a round trip of 15km, meaning that we had limited time at the reserve.  The detour did have a silver lining in that we saw a pair of Brent Geese bobbing on the sea – a new bird for me and taking the goose count to five species.  The other highlight on the Sunday was approximately 200 Pintail on one of the ponds at the RSPB reserve. A good weekend was had with a count of 52 species  even with the poor weather.

2 Responses to “Windy Caerlaverock”

  1. Ian November 29, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    love the hare running with blurred legs and focussed head, just states motion
    and the three Mallards in echelon, just makes me smile, and that’s not easy!!

  2. ThePath December 1, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    The Mallards are absolutely fantastic, the colours are so vivid and they arranged themselves by size!!!

    Duck lovers would buy that Im sure.

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