First thing this morning we motored up to the upland spruce forests blanketing the hills north of Dumfries. Plenty of bird song indicated good numbers of common birds and many warblers finding a living on the edges of these plantations. The best birds were Grey Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit and Redstart.
After breakfast we drove west to the beautiful Wood of Cree. This is an extensive oak woodland draped in moss and with an under-story of hazel and other shrubs, supported with birch, rowan, scrub and a mass of wild flowers. Powerful burns cut through the landscape to add further diversity. Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts sang from mostly hidden song-posts, but the Wood Warblers were a little easier. Other birds included Nuthatch, Tree Pipit, Spotted Flycatcher (seen at numerous sites today) and Grey Wagtail.
After reluctantly leaving this jewel of a reserve, we headed further west and then direct south to visit the Mull of Galloway. This exposed headland is the most southerly landmass in Scotland - Northern Ireland was clearly visible from the windy cliffs. Relatively small numbers of sea-birds breed here and we saw Gannet, auks, Kittiwake, Fulmar, Shag etc. A male Peregrine put in an appearance and there was visible proof of successful breeding of Pied Wagtail and Stonechat. Both Meadow and Rock Pipit song-flighted in the strong updrafts.
Our last venue for the day was the southern edge of Loch Ryan which held good numbers of loafing drake Eider, three species of tern, auks and Gannets, but little that we hadn't experienced earlier in the day.
Eleanor and Neil
Wood of Cree
Mull of Galloway