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.

25 June 2013

Threave Osprey Update:

I can confirm that we have two chicks. Yesterday at lunchtime, a fish was brought in and a volunteer, myself and a member of the public saw 2 tiny heads poking up. Olivia (female osprey) then ripped up the fish and tenderly fed the small pieces to both chicks. It is amazing how she feeds them. Such a privilege to watch.

As the chicks grow bigger and stronger Olivia is leaving the nest a little bit more, she doesn't stray far, just the black poplar perch a few metres away, ready to scare off any intruders such as a Red Kite we had on Sunday.

Ozzie (Black80) is hunting for more fish now as the chicks get bigger. He is feeding the whole family. Later on Olivia will start to hunt too, but not quite yet.

Other exciting news on the reserve: Pam and Paul (two long serving volunteers) saw a dog otter swim past the osprey platform. He was fishing. The lucky guys watched him for about 4 minutes.

The first of our swallows in the toilet block has fledged. It fledged yesterday as I came back from the osprey platform. The other four are still in the nest. See the photo below. We also have a noisy pair of jackdaws in the farm buildings and it is great to listen to them feeding the young. Jackdaws are such characters.
The first swallow from Threave Estate toilet block fledged yesterday.
Osprey Ranger

23 June 2013

Threave Osprey Update:

Good morning folks. I was at the viewing platform yesterday and got some great views of Ozzie (Black 80) bringing in a large fish and giving it to Olivia. She then fed down into the nest but I unfortunately didn't see a chick. One volunteer Sue was lucky enough on Friday to see a chick 5 times and a kingfisher flying past the platform. It must of just been her lucky day.

Over the last few days Ozzie has been building up the nest to further protect the chicks. He is making it bigger as they are growing fast on their high energy diet of fish.

If the weather is bad today we will relocate to castle hide so just walk a further 100 metres and we will be inside with a telescope and on hand to talk about ospreys. I also saw two great crested grebe there flirting and doing their courtship dance last night.

Enjoy your weekend and get out and about and see Scotland's wonderful nature. Remember it is the Year of Natural Scotland.

What animal would you choose as your favourite out of the "Big 5" in Scotland? They are a red squirrel, a red deer, an otter, a seal and a golden eagle. We would love to hear from you.

Mine would have to be a Golden Eagle, such majestic birds with a real awe about them. Plus I am a bird of prey geek. Haha.
The view across Threave Estate. The creeping buttercups look amazing this time of year.

Osprey Ranger

21 June 2013

Threave Osprey Update

Exciting times at the Threave Osprey nest. Yesterday we had a third osprey around the nest site for about one hour. Ozzie (Black 80) chased it off numerous times but it kept coming back in to the vicinity of the nest site.

Finally after numerous attempts, Ozzie chased the intruder off completely out of site. He then flew back and perched on the nest next to Olivia (Female blue?) as if to say "Its alright love, its gone now!"

Osprey flying in to nest site with fish. Image by Graham Johnstone.

Today the volunteers had some excellent views of Olivia feeding the chick. It could be a possibility we have two chicks, but we have only see one at a time and it is so hard to tell from 350 metres away. Plus the fact, Ozzie has been building up the nest. Hopefully we will be able to tell for sure in the next few days to a week. It just shows how valuable a nest camera would be. We will have to try and get donations for next year.

A kingfisher flew past the osprey platform today and someone saw it perched near the river. Also a female mallard with 4 ducklings floated past the platform. Great to see!

Come see the swallows nesting in the barn toilets, they are soon to fledge. It is great to watch the chicks beeing fed regularly.

Have a good weekend.

Over and out - Osprey Ranger

17 June 2013

Osprey Update:

It is now almost a week since the real confirmation that the chick or chicks have hatched. Ozzie (Black 80) has been bringing in quite a few more fish and with that high energy diet the chick/chicks will really start to grow.

I hope we will see a few heads poking up in the next few days but from 350 metres it is quite hard to see! I will be naming the chick/chicks after the ringing with Gelston Primary school. Hopefully it will be as good fun and a great experience like Castle Douglas Primary. They really enjoyed it and did some great artwork on the male and female osprey. Ozzie and Olivia would be impressed!

The reserve is still looking great with wildflowers, the bluebells are now dying down but the red campion and pink purslane look amazing. The hawthorn blossom smells and looks fantastic by the Opsrey Platform.

Come down to the Threave Estate and see these amazing birds and just enjoy this spectacular reserve.

Osprey Ranger.
Osprey feeding at nearby coast. Could it be Ozzie (Black 80)!?

13 June 2013

Osprey Update:

Hi there Osprey enthusiasts. Update from the Threave Nest. We may even have two osprey chicks now, but it is very hard to tell from 350 metres away.

We will know a lot more in the next week or so, when the chicks are that much bigger. Joy
ce (a long term volunteer) spotted the female feeding into the nest on Tuesday (11/06/2013) and since then the male has been bringing in more fish than usual. He has also been bringing in more sticks to build the nest up. This protects the chicks from the bad weather and predators such as heron or buzzard.

I have just been into Castle Douglas Primary School and I am pleased to announce new names for both the female and the male. A game of pin the fish (blind-folded) on the osprey talons was played to determine the name. The fish had the chosen name of the osprey and a target was at the talons. Each child in class 5 and 6 had a go at pinning their chosen name at the osprey target. The closest to the bull's eye won.

So without further delay.............. The new name for the female is OLIVIA and the male is OZZIE.
Come see the new osprey chicks in the next few days, it is an exciting time now at Threave Estate.

05 June 2013

World Oceans Weekend 2013 Rockcliffe

 Rockcliffe, World Oceans Weekend 2013

Here is a selection of images from the weekend, World Oceans Weekend held down at Rockcliffe. On the Saturday we held a beach clean and four volunteers turned up to assist us, with one couple travelling down from Kilmarnock, we are very grateful to everyone for the assistance over the weekend. The NTS theme on our stand this year was whales and dolphins and other sea mammals, We had lots of interesting things to show visitors. These included baleen plates from Blue, Humpback and Minke whales, the skulls of harbour porpoise, common dolphin and a Grey seal skull. The event is a great opportunity of raising everyone's awareness of how wonderful and important our marine heritage is in our lives, and having some fun at the same time.

04 June 2013

Osprey Update

Good morning osprey enthusiasts,

News from the nest is the ospreys are still incubating and the chicks are due to hatch from the10th June onwards.

We had a third Osprey fly into the nest on Sunday and there was actually three osprey at the nest for about five seconds. The male (Black 80) then chased off the intruder all the way to Threave Castle. He was really diving at it and going for it. Great sight to see. Awesome! I was just worried about the eggs with three birds on the nest. It has be known for them to break when an intruder flies in suddenly.

Other wildlife sightings at Threave include a young roe deer kid seen on the island, a pair of Great Crested Grebe, Grass-hopper warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Sedge warbler and Reed bunting.

We have also had some great views of up to eleven red kite with the silage being cut on the fields and the kite coming down for mice, rodents and other such prey.

Finally, the reserve is looking stunning with all the wild flowers out late this spring. The red campion, bluebell, pink purslane, greater stitchwort and wood sorrell look BEAUTIFUL in the wooded part of the reserve. There are lots of butterfly out too, enjoying the good weather. Green veined white, orange tip, peacock, small tortoiseshell, large white, small white and plenty of bumble bee also.

Osprey Ranger