Have you been watching Autumn watch this week which is coming from Caerlaverock to the south of Dumfries? It just shows in all its magnificent glory to abundance of wild life our region has to offer, from Badgers to Barnacle Geese from rutting Stags to cavorting Mice and in huge quantities too. The amount and variety of species of birds in the region is phenomenal with Red Kites throughout the forest park and beyond, to the masses of migrating geese as well as many other birds both large and small that pass through Dumfries and Galloway every year – to and from their winter retreats.
Autumn Watch Presenters
Barnacle Geese can be seen in their thousands
It is great to see our region featured likes this as it helps put this fantastic part of Scotland firmly on the map and if you are wanting to seek out the wildlife of Dumfries and Galloway for your self then there are many ways to do it. Yesterday I learned of a company that are working hand in glove with the Autumn watch team, so much so that it is their infrared cameras they are using to film the night time habits of these birds and animals. Wildlife Tours are a unique company that operate both day time and nocturnal tours of the region seeking out local wildlife so if you have an interest in nature then why not join them on one of their nocturnal wildlife tours as you will be amazed by what you can see and experience with the aid of their professional hand held night vision and thermal imaging equipment, the very stuff that was used by Autumn Watch as it is Wildlife Tours that they called on to help them detect the wildlife that is out there in the dark and there equipment they used.
Each participant has their own state of the art thermal imaging device for the duration of the tour along with access to other high tech equipment and everything you see whether on foot or in the vehicle, can be recorded at the touch of a button for you to take home as a memento of your tour. They also offer day time tours with guides that have over 40 years of experience.
As wwell as these tours they also offer Wildlife Photography in Dumfries and Galloway too with Alan McFadyen and he has his own hides fom which you can learn to take stunning photographs such as this one.
Should you wish to organise to be part of a tour or partake of the photography while staying here at Blackaddie we can do this for you or alternatively you can do it yourself, please visit http://www.scottishphotographyhides.co.uk www.wildlifetours.co.uk.
CAERLAVEROCK RESERVE & AUTUMN WATCH
For the first time, Autumn watch has set up home at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust’s Centre in Caerlaverock, Dumfries and Galloway.
Situated on the Solway Firth, the centre is the overwintering home for a huge range of wildfowl and wetland birds, including the entire population of Svalbard barnacle geese and hundreds of whooper swans, who will have made the journey all the way from Iceland.
Caerlaverock was once a working farm, which has developed into a 1500-acre reserve including farmland, saltmarsh and freshwater wetland habitats. In keeping with its history it now ‘farms’ for wildlife and as a result the area is home to a wide range of different creatures.
The nearby market town of Dumfries is also home to a surprising wealth of urban wildlife – they hope to capture the kingfishers, mergansers, dippers and otters that thrive on the autumn riches of the River Nith.
- Barnacle Geese – up to 30,000 fly in from Svalbard to set up home on the Solway Firth. We’ll be watching their daily routines as they settle in for the winter.
- Whooper Swans – flying in from Iceland. This journey is one of the longest sea crossings that any swan makes.
- Starlings – arrive in late October and create stunning murmurations at dusk as they decide where they are going to roost. We’ll be out every evening hoping to catch these seasonal spectacles.
- The Caerlaverock Badgers – popular residents on the reserve, the badgers feed most nights under the windows of the old farmhouse. The team hope to delve deeper into their nocturnal behaviour and, in conjunction with University of Brighton, plan to test the badgers of Brighton and the badgers of Caerlaverock to discover whether urban badgers have more of a preference for anthropogenic (human) food than their rural cousins. Does exposure to human related food make urban badgers more likely to feed on it or will all badgers attempt to eat any food they find? Using camera traps and remote cameras Autumnwatch will find out.
- Triops – Caerlaverock is one of only two places in the UK (the other being the New Forest) where you can find one of the oldest species in the world – the triops. We’ll be getting up close and personal to these tiny crustaceans, often known as tadpole shrimps, and discovering why they are thriving on this reserve.
- Mergansers and Goosanders fishing for migrating lampreys, eels and salmon.