News archived from 2016

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14th November 2016
Latest update from Iain -
On 6th October, 20 Redwing flew over the High Street. There was a Barn Owl over the rough meadow at the Community Reserve the same day while on our Reserve were 11 Teal and a Kingfisher with more Siskins in the woodland plus a Raven passed overhead. In the sunshine were a few Common and Black Darters. Janet McConnell from Commonside, Annan Water watched a Sparrowhawk at close quarters. Near Hoppertitty at Beattock a Kingfisher was seen on a stream by Don and Jean Hunter-Grant on the 8th and Barnacle Geese moved over the town at 5am. On the 15th at the Reserve was a Willow Tit and over 450 Fieldfare and Redwing were moving through. On the 19th Garry had a Kestrel in the Hunterheck area and 2/3 Peregrines had also been seen and a further Willow Tit was at the Reserve with 19 Teal. A Grey Partridge was recorded by Andy Dickson near to his house on the back road to Wamphray which was noteworthy. At the Community Reserve on the 25th were 10 Little Grebe, 6 Cormorant, 2 Grey Heron, 4 Mallard and 2 Jays and Magpies. Garry had 70 Fieldfare over his house on the 26th. On the 29th the Reserve held 17 Teal, 2 Raven, 2 Jay, 3 Magpie and a Kingfisher with good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing around. The following day Tom Thomson reported 7 undefined Partridges in fields at Rogermoor and remarkably the following day Sandra Dickson saw 8/9 Partridges at the Breconside turn off but was not sure whether they were Grey or Red Legged. After speaking to a local shooter I learned that 2 local shoots had released Red Legged Partridges with Pheasants and 2 pairs of Grey Partridge had been in the Craigbeck area so if anyone does see either species please let me know. On the morning of the 5th November there were 2 Raven over Meadowbank Rise and up at Harthope Place I spotted 6 Waxwings and later Garry and Dave saw them. The following day Dave Bradshaw photographed them and by Monday there were 19 birds present but by Tuesday they were gone though a rowan tree they had been feeding on was occupied by 6 male Blackbird. I have noticed more Goldcrests than usual the past few weeks so keep an eye out for these lovely tiny birds. While creating a pool at the Reserve on the 9th we saw a Common Shrew and another Common Lizard.

13th November 2016
Some photos from Dave Bradshaw. The top three show some of the Waxwings that were around the old academy last weekend. The lower three show the unusual sight of a Treecreeper feeding on a fat ball, a Red Squirrel near Beattock and a delightful pose by a Long-tailed Tit.

3rd October 2016
Latest update from Iain -
Down at the Reserve on the 7th September there were still 100 plus House Martins/Swallows moving through and still Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Warbler and a Chiffchaff around. In the morning I saw a flock of 40
Greylag Geese geese over the town which had been roosting on the Community Reserve. The same site also held 10 Little Grebe the following day while there were 11 Teal on our Reserve. Jim Marrs had the first flocks of Pink Footed Geese overhead on the 9th and I saw 14 the next day while a Willow Tit was with a flock of Long Tailed Tits at the Reserve. Another Willow Tit was at Jocks Hide on the Reserve on the 14th and Garry had a Green Woodpecker up near the Orchard area so a pretty good couple of sightings for the Reserve. John Smith reported a Painted Lady butterfly on the 16th, there have been very few records of them this year. On the Community Reserve on the 17th one of the ponds had dozens of Common Darters and large numbers, if not hundreds, of Black Darters among them and another Willow Tit was seen. Before 8am on the morning of the 20th in excess of 1000 Pink Footed Geese had flown over Moffat. The next day 34 House Martins flew over Frenchland Drive and Garry had calling Chiffchaff at 2 locations while a further Willow Tit was on the Reserve and only the second record of a Common Lizard on the Reserve was spotted while putting in post holes for a new gate. Another winter visitor was seen on the 23rd with about 20 Redwing at the top of Dundanion Road and 2 Willow Tit watched at close quarters at the Reserve on the 24th. At the Reserve on the 28th were a Chiffchaff, 30 plus Meadow Pipit, 2 Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher, 11 Teal, 2 Jay and a Raven. Two Swallows over Crosslaw Burn on the 29th and a House Martin over Frenchland Drive on the 30th while at least 49 Pied Wagtails left their roost from the trees on the High Street and 5 Crossbills up Dundanion Road. There were 2/3 Common Hawkers on the Middle Pond at the Reserve on the 1st October with the usual Buzzards overhead, some Pink Footed Geese passing over, 11 Teal and three Mallard ducklings almost fully grown....not many but considering there were none last year a welcome sign. 

29th September 2016
During August and September our Club, the Community Reserve and the local Gallow Hill project have participated in the Southern Scotland Bat Survey. This survey, commissioned by SNH and carried out by the BTO in collaboration with local groups, revealed that no less than 7 out of the 9 (or possibly 10 as Whiskered Bat and Brandt's Bat are extremely difficult to tell apart) generally accepted as being found in Scotland were confirmed as being present around Moffat! Additionally, some recordings were made of what may or may not have been either Whiskered or Brandt's bat but could not be positively identified.
To set the background, each area surveyed was a 1km square with monitoring carried out at three different locations within the square on three separate nights. Three such squares were monitored, one covering the Gallow Hill and two adjoining squares covering both our reserve and the Community one, the north/south boundary between the latter two lying roughly between the Middle Pond on our reserve and the Lint Pool on the community one, so together they give a fair representation of the bat presence over both the local reserves. The preliminary results for these two should therefore be taken in conjunction. There are three reports and all are available here for you to read by clicking the appropriate link (you will need Abobe Acrobat Reader or equivalent). Each report also contains some useful information about the various bats. -
NT0806 - covering the Gallow Hill
NT0803 - covering the southern parts of both reserves
NT0804 - covering the northern parts of both reserves

6th September 2016
Iain reports -
A long overdue and sporadic update from the past two months. Apologies if I have missed any sightings that you have given me.

On July 3rd Thelma Bevis from Moorlands House up Annan Water reported a Grey Squirrel in her garden. Ken Hines reported a pair of Bullfinch, a male Blackcap and a Spotted Flycatcher on the 7th. Another Grey Squirrel was reported at Torr Lodge, Alton Road by Ronald and Elinor Lewis-Smith while around the same time another was reported by Tom Lane up Beechgrove. While working at the Reserve on the 27th July, John Smith spotted a Merlin pass by overhead. A few days later on the 30th a young couple brought into the shop a juvenile Merlin which had become entangled on a barbed wire fence at the Community Reserve. On 1st August up in the Orchard area on the Reserve Garry watched a Tree Pipit family of 4 youngsters which was proof of successful breeding. He also saw a Hobby in the Barnhill area which is being recorded annually in the area now....possibly breeding? A very exciting record from Ken Hines on the 2nd concerned another raptor....."while driving on the M74, about a mile south of Junction 13 near Uddingston, a White Tailed Sea Eagle about 100 yards from the road was going into stoop on something out of sight, excellent clear view and fantastic sight so close to home."
By this time the numbers of Mallard at the Reserve had increased to over 50 for the first time for a while and the number of Swifts began to fall quickly with my last sightings on the 15th. A report of a Willow Tit by Andrew Bramhall on the Community Nature Reserve was encouraging that they are still present in the area. At the Reserve on Saturday were 2 Kingfishers, 2 Grey Wagtail, a Raven and 5 Teal. Over Crosslaw Burn and Meadowbank/Rise while doing the paper deliveries on the 5th September were over 100 House Martins and Swallows as they begin to leave us. After that I went to Dumfries Cash and Carry and while heading over the River Nith near Cuckoo Bridge a Kingfisher flew in front of me. Garry had 4 Swifts moving through the same day which was a very late record.

And some sightings by Dave Bradshaw -

17/07/16 Bankend Wood, Spotted flycatcher with fledged young, pair of Willow Warblers showing agitated behaviour.
18/07/16 Juvenile Willow Warbler in my back garden.
22/07/16 in Station Park, singing Male Common Crossbill, Chiff Chaff, Grey Heron, Moorhen with young.
23/07/16 Spotted Flycather at BT Exchange compound Beattock

Also some photos from Dave. From left to right, House Martin, Juvenile Swallow and a young Swallow being fed by a parent. On the original image, in higher resolution than we can use on our website, that juicy morsel of food appears to be a wasp (or a hornet?)! For a closer look, click here.

1st July 2016
Latest info from Iain -
On May 16th while up the Crooked Road with Lorna for an evening visit we were fortunate to see a female Hen Harrier over rough ground heading towards Stiddriggs and around the Earshaig area were plenty Song Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Warbler, Siskin and Redpoll with at least 2 Cuckoo calling. Little Grebes were nesting on one of the ponds and a pair of Moorhen on another pond. A local postman saw a Red Kite in the Beef Tub area on the 17th. A Raven flew over Crosslaw Burn on the morning of the 19th.
From mid May a Redstart and 2 Pied Flycatcher were calling in the Reserve area and one pair of Pied Flycatcher successfully reared 3 young from one of the boxes which was good and up the top end of the Reserve in the Orchard area 2 pairs of Tree Pipit nested which were a new breeding species for the Reserve. On May 31st and June 1st myself and Andy Riches did some pond dipping with primary kids from Moffat Academy with over 100 kids attending and having a great time and the walk from the school through the Green Frog and over the River Annan and through fields was a great adventure for all of them. Anne Gibbard reported a calling Grasshopper Warbler from the Reserve on the 4th June while at the Community Reserve I saw 5 Greylag Geese and a female Red Breasted
Merganser. One of the Primary classes were back at the Reserve on 21st June for an extended visit and Jon Haydon helped out on this occasion and once again was a great success.

Last year we were on the lookout for Tree Bumblebees with a few seen. This year we had a substantial colony of them occupying a nest box at our reserve!

Now the latest info from Dave Bradshaw -
17/05/16 -
Crooked road - 5 Linnets
Earshaigs / southern upland way - Whitethroat, 11 Singing male Willow Warblers. 9 Song thrushes (3 Juveniles), 5 Tree pipits, Spotted Flycatcher. 5 Redpolls, 3 Siskins, Moorhen (Earshaigs south Lochan) and 2 Mallard, Cuckoo.
BBSsquare 14/06/16 -
Curlew 2, Cuckoo ,Reed bunting, Sand Martin 5, Raven 2, Starlings 58, Redpoll 2, 3 Pairs of Whinchat
Earshaigs/ southern upland way 10/06/16 -
Tree pipits 9, Willow warblers 11, Pair of Whinchat, 4 Redpoll , Reed bunting, Buzzard, Crossbills 2, Wren, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Song thrush 4, Mistle thrush 2.
Crooked road - Linnets 4, Goldfinch 2
Sunday 26th June -
singing Chiff Chaff here in trees in Cornal Court, Juv Robin, Juvenile Blue Tit and 2 Juvenile Blackbirds in garden. Update on House Martins, 31 occupied nests BT exchange with good numbers of young in nests.
Some more pictures taken recently by Dave at Bankend Wood -

Male Blackcap

Female Redstart at nest

Male Redstart

Female Pied Flycatcher

Male GS Woodpecker

A very young Robin


24th May 2016
Some recent photographs from Dave Bradshaw -

Lapwing chick

Juvenile Song Thrush

Juvenile Song Thrush



Brown Hare

15th May 2016
Latest update from Iain -
Ken Hines reported a Swallow at Hope Johnstone Park on the 12th (April) and the following day at the Reserve were a Kingfisher, a Sand Martin, 6 Teal, Jay, 2 Willow Warbler and 2 Chiffchaff. Billy Davidson reported a male Black Grouse in the Craiks Craig area which was a good sighting. Tom Thomson reported a pair of Lesser Redpoll in his garden on the 17th. I watched a female Sparrowhawk hunting in Crosslaw Burn on the 18th and while out on my paper deliveries I was noticing several Song Thrush around. There were 10 Cormorant at the Community Reserve on the 19th and I saw an Orange Tip butterfly along the Dumfries by pass. On the 20th at our Reserve were Willow Warblers, Sand Martins and Swallows and a Peacock butterfly while on the Community Reserve were 8 Cormorant, 3 Little Grebe, 2 Moorhen, 2 Canada Geese and a Common Sandpiper. Garry had a singing Yellowhammer just south of the Green Frog which was notable. Dave Bradshaw had Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler singing around Moffat Coop and along the River Annan at the Station Park were another Blackcap and singing Chiffchaff. The following day Dave also had a male Redstart and a Willow Warbler at Bankend Wood and another Willow Warbler at Cornal Court in Beattock while Ken Hines had a House Martin over Smiths Way in Beattock. Another report from the Beattock area came from Alan Beaven who reported a Peregrine and a Common Sandpiper feeding on mud at the pond edge of Craigielands Pond/Moffat Manor Country Park and Dave had 4/6 House Martins over Beattock village. A Sedge Warbler was singing at the Reserve on the 30th and there were 2 Linnet in a garden at Crosslaw Burn. On the 1st May Dave had a Swift over Beattock and 2 House Martins while Tom Thomson was now getting up to 8 Lesser Redpoll. Dave reported 2 Willow Warbler and a Redstart in Bankend Wood on the 3rd May and the following day in and around a field along the Barnhill road he saw 5 male and a female Wheatear, 6 Meadow Pipt, Pied Wagtail, Sand Marin and a House Martin. Ken Hines had 4 Swift over Telford House, Beattock and Dave had 10 House Martin over Beattock Village and I saw 40 Pink Footed Geese over Moffat while doing my paper deliveries. Pat McWhan reported that an Otter had cleaned out her pond of Koi carp along Ballplay Road and a lady at the top of St Ninians Road had also reported lost fish to Otter and a few days later Ron Lewis-Smith from Torr Lodge, Alton Road, also had his pond cleaned out by Otter too. Dave saw in and around the Evan Water at Beattock a male Goosander, Grey Wagtail and a Dipper feeding young under the bridge. At our Reserve he also saw 2 Willow Warbler, Grey Heron, male Pied Flycatcher and 2 Sand Martin. A single Greylag Goose flew over Moffat early in the morning. The first 2 Spotted Flycatchers of the year were on the Reserve on the evening of the 8th. On the 9th Dave reported the following around Beattock bridge/Evan Water area : 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Siskin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, Swallow, 7 Swift and a female Lesser Redpoll. At Moffat Manor CP Dave also had 2 Mute Swan, Moorhen, Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Long tailed Tit, Blackcap and Robin. John Smith reported a female Pied Flycatcher on Greenwood Hall side of his fenceline and Mrs Ross reported both Red Squirrel and young Brown Hare which was good to know. Ken Hines saw a Green Woodpecker and 2 Wheatear near Barntimpin, Raehills, which was really good and also a Common Sandpiper and 2 Spotted Flycatcher along River Evan at Beattock. While heading down to the Reserve on the 14th I spottted 2 Tree Sparrow at the feeding station at Jocks Hide. Also on the Reserve were 3 Treecreeper, 3 Sedge Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, quite a few Sand Martins and the 1st young Moorhens.
- and a P.S. later - Ann Gibbard was up Carrifran valley yesterday (14th May) and reported hearing a Cuckoo which was good. Two other records were a brief one heard at the Community Reserve from Darren Flint and Alan Henderson heard one near Ae village where he is working.

And an additional comment from John regarding his Italy visit - forgot to include Cuckoo on the list of birds, they were heard frequently. Also, Jean Kirk reports that just after we left she found Porcupine quills on her patio right beside the house, so confirming that they are still there/

10th May 2016
From John -
Not long returned from 10 days or so in Italy. Those of you who have followed my previous reports will be happy to hear that there was a dramatic increase in the number of birds seen there compared to previous years. Weather could have been kinder - they had an unusually mild winter and quite a warm start to spring. We soon put paid to that, temperatures went down (even frost one morning), wind got up and rain showers quite often! Nevertheless, plants have taken full advantage of the previously good weather and were well on, trees in full leaf and apple blossom on a good show. Not the best for nature watching but the list of sightings includes: Buzzard, Kestrel, Hooded Crow, Magpie, Jay, Cattle Egret, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Turtle Dove, Hoopoe, Green Woodpecker, Golden Oriole, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Wren. Nightingale, Starling, Scops Owl, Swift, Swallow, House Martin. Also a brief sighting of possibly a Redstart. Quite a few butterflies about, mainly small brownish-orange types that remains unidentified but also, very occasionally, Red Admiral, Scarce Swallowtail and a yellow one, possibly a Brimstone. Only a few Bumblebees about, including the all-black Carpenter Bee. Creatures with four feet are, of course, very scarce and are mainly lizards, mice, moles and the occasional unwelcome rat. No signs of porcupine this year though, nor of fox. Jean Kirk, the neighbour with the magic woodland, has Nutria (Koypu) busy damming the stream just outside her boundary fence and, from the muddy water, must have been active just before we passed by. She assures me that she still has porcupine on her property.
I took my night camera with me and set it up behind our house, setting it to take a picture approximately every minute. Last year I recorded what appeared to be a young boar and a hedgehog. My son, with a similar camera, has also recorded fox and porcupine in the past. I recorded another hedgehog again this year but didn't really expect much beyond that and the local cats and dogs. However, bingo!! One night, over a period of about an hour and a half, I got something like 35 images of a considerable family, adults and young, of Wild Boar! Images taken using infrared flash and a slow shutter speed are seldom all that sharp. I have selected eight of the better ones and have posted them on a page on my own personal webspace. You can see them by clicking here.

9th May 2016
Our Coffee Morning raised a grand, very grand, total of £1425. With no carving being raffled this year, this greatly exceeded all expectations. Our usual thanks go to all involved, whether by manning the stalls, providing teas and coffees or by making donations to the sales and raffles. The continuing support from you, the public, is very much appreciated.

12th April 2016
Updates from Iain covering from late January to present -
On the 30th January, Margaret Povall had a Red Squirrel at The Whins which was the first for many months and Muriel Scott also had one at Wamphray after a long absence. An Oystercatcher on the raft at the Community Reserve on February 6th and 2 Goldcrest at the Reserve. Garry Tait had 40 plus Crossbill over the Greenhillstairs on the 12th and three Red Kites in the Lockerbie area where there are apparently 5 birds. At the Community Reserve on the 20th were 15 Oystercatcher, 9 Little Grebe, 28 Mallard and 2 Canada Geese and John Smith had a male Brambling in his garden. On the 24th at the Community Reserve were 21 Oystercatcher, 8 Little Grebe, 15 Mallard, 4 Teal and a Grey Heron while the following day Sandra Wilson saw a Grey Squirrel at Newbank. A pair of Brambling in John's garden on the 26th and I saw a Magpie over the PISSC the following day. A Snipe was seen in a field at Rogermoor by Tom Thomson on the 28th and while I was out delivering papers on the 29th a male Goosander flew over Meadowbank Rise. To start off March on the 1st, Roger Grant reported a Cormorant, 8 Canada Geese and a Greylag Goose on the pond at Burrance of Courance. Garry had 7 Snow Bunting near Elvanfoot on the 2nd while a Curlew was heard by John Smith he following day and a singing Song Thrush. Lesley Robson from Hillside Terrace reported having a Red Legged Partridge in the garden and three in early December. An influx of Siskins was noted and I saw over 50 at Meadowbank Rise and over 100 on the trees at the bottom of Dundanion Road. A number of Skylarks were heard at the Community Reserve by Garry on the 6th. Janet McConnell reported a male Bullfinch and a female Brambling in her garden on the 8th and Garry reported a good wader passage with many Oystercatcher, good numbers of Curlew and a few Golden Plover. The Oystercatcher flock at the Community Reserve had increased to 27 birds by the 9th and Don and Jean Hunter-Grant had 53 Frogs in their two ponds on the 11th. At the Reserve on the 12th were a Cormorant, 10 Teal, 3 Goldcrest and a Grey Wagtail. There were 19 Whooper Swans on the Community Reserve on the 14th and a Magpie at Meadowbank Rise. At the Reserve on the 16th were 25 Teal while on the Community Reserve were 6 Canada Geese, 2 Mute Swans, 10 Mallard, 2 Tufted Duck, 7 Little Grebe and 25 Oystercatcher. A count of 8 Oystercatcher on the Reserve was noteworthy on the 19th. While on a wee road trip on the 29th myself and Lorna saw 2 Wheatear at the Grey Mares Tail, at St Mays Loch were 10 Oystercatcher and 2 Mute Swan, Megget reservoir had over 100 Common Gull and 20 Oystercatcher, while Talla had 16 Whooper Swans and 2 Goldeneye. While working at the Reserve on the 30th we all heard a Chiffchaff calling and earlier in the morning 20 Whooper Swans and 11 Canada Geese flew over Moffat and I saw my first Brambling of the winter at Craig Ghelt, Reid Street among dozens of Siskins. John Smith spotted a Swallow over the Reserve on the 6th April with up to 3 calling Chiffchaff and 2 Canada Geese and Alan Beaven had a Pergrine mobbing a Buzzard over Craigielands Wood. Up to 14 Sand Martin were over the Community Reserve lochan too. The Ospreys have also returned to Moffat Water valley. At the Reserve on the 9th were calling Chiffchaff and returning Willow Warbler with a Kingfisher on the wetland and 2 Canada Geese. John had a probable Blackcap in his garden. Dave Bradshaw had a Swallow at Milton Farm and had 3 Golden Plover, 16 Sand Martin, a Peregrine Falcon and good numbers of Common Gulls on DaerReservoir/Watermeetings area. While down at the Community Reserve on the evening of the 10th with Lorna, we saw 11 Cormorants roosting in one of the big fir trees and 14 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Mallard, 1 Pink Footed Goose, 9 Oystercatcher, 4 Little Grebe, 2 Moorhen, Sand Martins and 5 Swallows over the Lochan, singing Willow Warbler and an Osprey flying over and up Moffat Water was good.

5th April 2016 (2)
A message from D.Lindsay to say a Red Kite seen near the 'Beeftub' today. Also a Kingfisher seen on the Community Reserve.

5th April 2016
Two annual reports from Andy Riches, always worth a good read:

Castle & Hightae Loch Report for 2015
County Mammal Report for 2015

DGERC - This summer DGERC and the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere natural heritage staff are looking for volunteers to help find water voles in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere (GSAB). If you would like register an interest (no commitment) and find out more please email Wendy Fenton at

From Darren Flint, Community Nature Reserve events for your calendar:
16 April: 10-1pm, Reserve Spring Clean - volunteer event to start signing up people to help out. Paint the bird hides, tidy paths, cut back undergrowth by hides etc.
7 May: 8.45pm, Bat talk and walk
10 Aug: 11-12.30pm, Butterfly count and make a butterfly - bring along a picnic
10 Sept: 7.15pm, Bat walk and talk
Assistance will be needed in setting up and manning some of the events. If anyone is available to help out, Darren can be contacted on Tel:(01683) 221471, Mob:07971790847,
or contact John and your details will be passed on.

28th February 2016
Dave Bradshaw visited the Community Reserve on 23rd Feb and sighted 3 Canada Geese, 20 Mallard, 7 Little grebes & 19 Oystercatchers. He got some superb photographs too and a small selection is shown below. The first shows the Canada Geese in courtship mode. The second shows a few of the Oystercatchers on one of the rafts, just returned from feeding in the fields as the rather dirty bills show! The third is a typical view of an Oystercatcher in flight but, if you look carefully, it apears to be carrying something, possibly a worm, in its beak. The last picture shows a Little Grebe just resurfaced after a successful fishing dive - you can see the small fish hanging from its beak.

13th February 2016
From Dave Bradshaw - with the sunshine in the morning on Wednesday (3rd Feb) got over to the caravan park (Craigielands) to try and get a close shot of the Little Grebes but they stay in the distance knowing your there. The swan has started building her nest and the 4 Little Gebes were making a lot of noise. Attached the best images of what I took. The cob Mute Swan and a Lttle Grebe. The Bramblings got up to 3 birds but have not seen any the last couple of days.

29th January 2016
From Iain, update on sightings so far this year -
Goosander's have been seen on the River Annan and the Millburn on a number of occasions by various people. A returning Song Thrush was seen by Garry Tait on the road down to the Community Reserve on the 6th, while the same location had 22 Mallard, a male Tufted Duck and 5 Little Grebe on the 9th with a number of Redwing on Dyke Farm Nature Reserve and upwards of 1000 Pinkfeet moving southwards. Local shooters were reporting very low numbers of Mallard, Teal, Snipe and Woodcock in the region this Winter. Two Otters were seen by Alistair Hepburn near his garage beside the River Annan. At the Community Reserve on the 13th were 25 Mallard, 6 Teal, female Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebe and 3 Moorhen. There was a belated report of a pair of Red Kite and a pair of Golden Eagle in the Earshaig area up the Crooked Road which was most interesting. At our Reserve on the 16th were 7 Moorhen, 12 Mallard and 2 Buzzard while on the Community Reserve were 33 Mallard, 5 Teal, male Tufted Duck, female Goldeneye, 4 Moorhen and 5 Little Grebe. A male Reed Bunting was photographed by Tom Thomson in his garden at Meadowbank on the 17th. Another Red Kite was seen by Garry on the 19th in the Dyke Farm and Barnhill area. Andy Dickson at Woodfoot is regularly getting upwards of 25 Tree Sparrows in his garden according to Garry after paying Andy a visit. Down at the Reserve on the 20th were a flock in excess of 100 Siskin, 28 Mallard, 8 Teal and a Mute Swan while over on the Community Reserve were a pair of Tufted Duck, male Goldeneye and 3 Mute Swan. At Dyke Farm Nature Reserve on the 23rd were 2 Buzzard, male Sparrowhawk, 2 Grey Heron, 7 Moorhen, 27 Teal and 24 Mallard with over 1200 Pinkfeet overhead. Over on the Community Reserve were 12 Snipe, 24 Mallard, 8 Little Grebe and 2 Meadow Pipit. A Barn Owl was reported by Jimmy Aitchison at Raecleuch which was an interesting report. While coming out of Claudios Restaurant with Lorna on the 24th we heard an Oystercatcher overhead about 9.30pm. At our Reserve on the 27th were 2 Kingfisher, 2 Reed Bunting, 4 Grey Heron, 28 Mallard and 9 Teal.

20th January 2016
Another quiet winter for migrants so far. However, there seems to be an increase in numbers of our commoner birds coming into our gardens. John, for example, has seen quite significant numbers of Blue, Coal and Great Tits coming to the feeders, far more than in previous years.
Dave Bradshaw had 3 Bullfinches in the front garden just before the end of last year with another in the backgarden next day. 3 Redwings on New Years day in Cornal court, Beattock, 7 Longtailed Tits by the railwaybridge and 4 Little Grebes on the lake in the caravan site. On 11th January, he managed to photograph this Nuthatch in the back garden. On 19th January, a male Brambling (photo) with the Chaffinchs in Craigie Avenue/Cornal Court, 14 Redwings on the cycle track and a Grey Wagtail at the Caravan park lake outflow.