It's wilder than you might think.

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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.

17 April 2013

Wildlife and Threave Gardens

Threave is a complicated and varied estate with a lot of segments, so it's nice to see some link-up between two of these working parts - the gardens and the nature reserve - in the form of these sculptures:

You'll find them in the sunken part of the secret garden (if you can find that!) - as you can see, amongst other things there are pieces depicting an osprey, Threave Castle, some bats and some fighting hares, all of which are important features of the nature reserve and indeed Threave Estate as a whole, as the sculptures' location the garden is intended celebrate.

It's worth mentioning that the gardens themselves are beginning to flourish once more and will definitely be worth a visit in the coming weeks and months. Situated very close to the nature reserve, the gardens offer a different kind of spectacle to the wetlands. The beds and lawns are looking particularly neat and trim and the beautiful walled garden will soon be coming into its own. At present there are a great variety of daffodils to be admired both in the garden and around the wider estate (particularly in Keltonhill Wood), in addition to which a particularly fierce battle is being waged between a blue tit, a great tit and a nuthatch to see who will occupy a favoured tree-hole in the gardens' weeping ash this summer. Keltonhill Wood, located further up the hill from the gardens, is an excellent place for viewing red squirrels - and our newly repainted and repaired hide a quiet spot to sit and wait for them. There are also some excellent examples of standing dead wood suitable for bats (particularly noctules):

Closer to the countryside centre is an unmissable large rookery, where the birds are currently very lively in their pair bonding and fighting over nests. The gardens really are a treat for anyone interested in formal gardening, heritage gardening, glasshouse work, fruit and vegetable cultivation, art or wildlife.

In other news, after a few days of only seeing one osprey at a time, some of the NTS staff and members of the public were treated to an exuberant skydance by the male, trying to get the attention of the female who was watching from the nest. Expect more footage and photos in the next few days.

And last but not least, a Hercules plane flying very low over the area roused a group of about 40 greenland white-fronted geese from a site nearby the castle on Monday. In the last few years the Threave wetlands have acted as extremely important wintering sites for these globally threatened birds.

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