It's wilder than you might think.

About Us

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As members of the National Trust for Scotland Dumfries and Galloway Countryside Team, we manage properties across Dumfries and Galloway, including Threave Estate and Nature Reserve; Rockcliffe Property; Venniehill; The Murray's Isles and Bruce's Stone. Our task is to conserve and maintain the variety of habitats and species present, at the same time managing the sites for the education and enjoyment of current and future generations.

09 November 2012

Winter Flocks

We have around 6-700 Pink-footed geese, using the estate and nature reserve, its quite a spectacle when birds are flighting in and out of their roosts. The behaviour of the birds is very much influenced by land management patterns and the weather, especially water levels. Its always a special time of year, with the sight and sounds of a skein of pink-footed geese, flying over. We have also Greenland White-fronted geese with 141 being counted by Arthur Thirwell on the 7th November. These birds are best looked at from Threave nature reserve, and scan the fields behind the castle. We also hosted a roost of around 91 Canada geese on Black park marsh for a short while, this has become a regular event over the last couple of years. The Canada goose population locally is increasing and this may become a regular pattern of the birds using the reserve. We will have to monitor and understand any potential impacts this may have over time. Our duck numbers continue to increase with Teal, Wigeon and Mallard, but also Pintail  and Tufted duck being present in reasonable numbers at times, over the last week.

A flock of 22 Skylark flew over the reserve yesterday and flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing are here in good numbers, with Coal tit, Blues tit, and Willow tit along with Goldcrests using the hedges as they commute between feeding areas in our woodlands. Also Siskin and Redpoll are feeding on birch and alder seeds.

Much to my amazement was the numbers of bats actively foraging along the Threave estate walk last night as I was trying to get to grips with the goose roosts just before dark. Bats still need to build up fat reserves prior to hibernation, and given the spring and summer they have had, they need to maximise any good weather opportunities and eat all the insect food they can get prior to the main onset of winter.

Both Hen harrier and Red kites are showing well on and near the reserve along with Kestrel putting in regular appearances over the last few days, which is always nice to see.

Please get out and enjoy Threave Nature Reserve and let us know if you see any interesting wildlife sightings.

all the best