Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

To Caerlaverock WWT Reserve, Dumfrieshire

After goodbyes and last photos, including a pretty poor photo of a close short-eared owl left to cycle to Caerlaverock.

Geltsdale was photographed in order to see the changes that 110,000 trees planted in the last couple of years will incur. What with Haweswater and Dave the warden there's tree planting and the number of trees planted here; one can see the commitment to preventing climate change by the RSPB. How many trees they must be planting overall. I'd be interested to know.

Wind! Through Gretna and over the border and immeadiately the west wind was stronger and in my face. I HATE WIND. Rain no problem; waterproofs on and on I go but wind, now that's painful and this was strong and uncomfortable.

Stopped at Ruthwell Cross; the cross eventually found inside the church. A superb medieval cross from the 8th century.

Reached Caerlaverock to be told that I was a day early. Still after a natter with the lovely staff was shown the farmhouse and what a shock. Not the small volunteers accomodation I'd expected but instead a plush 4 star, almost B & B feel to the place with a huge lounge and large conservatory looking over a large scrape. Luxury!

Here I must say thank you to Peter for the donation and to Jane and Brian for the fabulously friendly welcome. Thanks!

Only 2 other people were staying [hello Ann and Abigail!] and once a kettle was found it was comfort indeed. An early evening walk around the reserve then tea and roe deer from the tower; followed by a fox searching for eggs on the close by islands. A colour ringed black tailed godwit close by, as was a common sandpiper and at half past midnight, a badger coming to the peanuts and honey put out for it. Brillaint place and at £30 a night, well wortyh it. Got to come here in the winter when the barnacles are here in big numbers.

In the morning, a really wild morning with heavy rain and terrific strong winds, a walk around the reserve was exciting for wondering whether a tree would crash upon me. Not many birds braving the weather but another close roe deer by a hide.

Met up with Mike, the reserve, now I've got to be careful here because although I'd call him a warden, that is not his title.

He was taking a group of people over the reserve meadows and I tagged along.

The highlight was a roe deer fawn at our feet. Saw the pool where the famous tadpole shrimp may be found; an ancient specie older than dinosaurs that looks like a small horseshoe crab and which is found here at one of its only sites in Britain.

Another relaxing evening with a badger coming to the food earlier than the previous night; 10.00pm in fact.

Right time up again.

Thanks to everyone. Now at castle Douglas having been to Kirkconnell and Mersehead RSPB reserves.

All the best


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