News archived from 2018

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3rd November 2018
atest update on sightings from Iain -
While working down at the Reserve on the 5th September there were lots of Blue Hawkers around the woodland pond. On the 7th while out on my paper deliveries I heard 3 calling Chiffchaff and there were 5 Magpies along Old Carlisle Road while the following day down at the Reserve at least 40 House Martins were moving through and there were plenty birds aroung including Kestrel, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Bullfinch, 2 Willow Tit, Treecreeper, 5 Teal, 3 Grey Heron and 4 Magpie. Garry had a Chiffchaff at the Reserve on the 10th and at the same location on the 12th there were lots of darters and hawkers around with a single Red Admiral butterfly and 3 Teal, 2 Mistle Thrush, 17 Long tailed tits and still House Martins and Swallows moving through. A few days later on the 15th at the Reserve were 40 Mallard, 6 Teal, 3 Grey Heron and a juvenile Buzzard while 16 Greylag Geese flew over. An excellent sighting from Garry came on the 17th when a Hobby was chasing Swallows and House Martins at Oakriggside. Following "STORM ALI" I popped down to check for storm damage on the 20th and 7/8 trees had fallen but no damage to hides/sheds fortunately. Birds seen were 20 Siskin, 2 Swallows, 40 Mallard and 5 Teal. On the Community Reserve were 3 Grey Heron, 4 Cormorant, 2 Mute Swan, 2 Mallard, 2 Teal, 11 Little Grebe, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, 10 Magpie and 2 Roe Deer. That evening I was down at Lockerbie with Lorna and 5-600 Pink Footed Geese flew over. Back at the Reserve on the 22nd were 7 Teal, 2 Willow Tit, 7-800 Pinkfeet, at least 12 Swallow/House Martin with a few Meadow Pipits and Skylark moving through with the regular 2 Roe Deer and plenty hawkers/darters and 3 Red Admiral. The last Swallows and House Martins were at the Reserve on the 26th with the regular 2 Willow Tit and a few Tree Sparrow and the Teal had built up to 12. Moving into October on the 3rd with the following at the Reserve : Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, 2 Buzzard, 5 Teal, 7 Tree Sparrow, 2 Willow Tit, 25 Siskin, 5 Mistle Thrush with 75 Greylags and 300 plus Pinkfeet overhead. A few days later on the 6th there were 3 Roe Deer, 80 Siskin, 11 Teal, 5 Tree Sparrow, 8 Magpie, 2 Willow Tit and a male Bullfinch. At the Community Reserve were 9 Little Grebe and a Cormorant. I saw my first 6 Redwing over School Lane on the morning of the 7th. There were 3/4 Lesser Redpoll with the Siskin flock on the 10th at the Reserve with 40 Redwing and 11 Teal. Peter Dreghorn reported a Fieldfare on the 12th up Annan Water though Andy Dickson had a few earlier in the week. A Mink was reported in the Craigielands area while the same area on the 19th had 5 Whooper Swans briefly dropping onto the pond and an Otter was also reported....perhaps the Mink was an Otter? On the 23rd Jon Haydon reported a Brambling in his garden and there were 3/4 moving through the Reserve on the 27th following a cold snap of weather with a good movement of Fieldfare, Redwing, Pinkfeet and a Skylark. Garry was at the Reserve on the 30th as Harry began clearing the pond in front of Jocks Hide and 300 plus Fieldfare and Redwing were feeding on the woodland floor and adjacent fields. The following day saw 20 plus Teal, 6 Tree Sparrow and 2 Wiilow Tits around and at the Community Reserve were a male Goldeneye, 7 Cormorant and 2 Little Grebe. During this period a number of Grey Squirrels were being reported in several locations including the Gallow Hill, Hospital, Ballplay Road and Meadow Bank/Rise as well as other sites.

2nd September 2018
Latest reports from Iain :

A long overdue update!
June onwards
On the 2nd the Mallard family of 13 were doing well and there were 2 Teal on our reserve. On the 4th a Goosander flew over Holm Park early morning. further brood of Mallard ducklings appeared on the reserve on the 13th to join the other two broods and another Moorhen brood appeared on the woodland pond. A Red Kite was seen near the reserve on the 18th and a couple of days later I noticed lots of young Tree Sparrows around from the 5 breeding pairs and the Starlings were on their second broods. On the 22nd I had three sightings of Red Kite. Sue Powell saw one locally, John Hume reported one near Roundstonefoot and Ian Paterson saw one near the Belshies. While having our tea break at the reserve on the 23rd a "leucistic" warbler either Willow warbler, Garden Warbler or Chiffchaff was seen in the area. Another Red Kite was seen by myself this side of Amisfield on the 25th. A flock of 18 Greylag Geese flew over the reserve on the 30th and a Moorhen nest with 5 eggs was located on the Middle Pond. At the reserve on the 4th July were a number of Blue Hawkers and a Willow Tit was heard....the first for a while. Dave carried out his Butterfly Survey at Stidriggs on the 5th and recorded 135 Ringlet, 5 Green Veined, 1 Red Admiral, 2 Small Heath and 1 Meadow Brown while a Whinchat family was seen at the start of his survey work. Lesley Robson reported a Pheasant family in her garden on the 6th up Hillside Terrace. At the reserve on the 11th were 2 young Peregrines flying high being taught by their parents and on the 13th there were 40-50 Swifts over the town and they seemed to have had a good breeding season. While out on my delivery rounds I noted that Magpies are fairly widespread and Wood Pigeons appear to be increasingly moving into local gardens and are quite confident big birds while Collared Dove, House Sparrow and Goldcrest were doing well. A lack of Swallows and House Martins this year but appeared to rear good sized broods with groups of 50-60 birds seen in various locations. A most unusual record was seen/heard by Garry Tait on the 23rd in the form of a Nightjar calling from the area at the back of the Moffat Rugby playing field just along Old Carlisle Road and I was fortunate enough to hear the bird on the evening of the 27th. An amazing record so close to the town. On the 4th August there were a number of Buzzards including young birds in the Reserves/Golf Course areas high up and our young Mallards were beginning to learn to fly. The last Swift was seen over the town on the 13th. Some records from Dave Bradshaw on the 17th in the Cornal Court area with a juvenile Pied Wagtail on his front lawn with a Willow Warbler. Good numbers of Swallows on wires and House Martins were flying up to houses with white pebble dash walls. On Daves lawn and his neighbours were 65 House Sparrows and 6 Collared Dove and 43 Chaffinches....all great counts for the time of year. At the reserve on the 18th were 3 Teal and a Willow Tit. Two interesting reports were a new brood of 8 Mallard ducklings at Station Park on the 21st seen by Dave and the following day another brood of 8 ducklings at the reserve with Bullfinch, Teal and Willow Tit also seen. Heading over to work before 5am on the 28th I saw a Rabbit running up the High Street and the Rabbit population has certainly increased this year as I have seen them all over town and later that morning a Roe Deer and well grown fawn were seen at the top of Old Well Road. Two Willow Tits at the reserve on the 29th. Red Kites reported in the Gallow Hill area by Lorne Campbell, Alan Smith saw a Jay near St Anns bridge, a number of Sparrowhawks in the town were seen and one injured bird was picked up by the SSPCA on the 1st September. On the 2nd I saw a small flock of Siskin near Park Circle, 2 Raven over the town and a few Meadow Pipits coming down off the hills and heading to the coast. Swallows and House Martins were disappearing fast.

7th July 2018
The schedule for next season (2018-2019) has now been organised and you can view it on our "Events" page. There is always the risk of unforeseen changes so keep an eye on this website and on posters just in case!

27th May 2018
Update from Iain -
Dave had a Swift over his house at Beattock on the 8th while there were 7/8 over Moffat. Sammy Smith had reported seeing the much reported Red Kite about a week earlier and he had also seen Magpie over Pringle Court. Dave saw 2 Buzzard and 2 House Martin at our reserve while on the Community Reserve he reported 5 Greylag Geese, 2 Oystercatcher, Cormorant and Whitethroat. On the morning of the 9th there were 3 Brown Hares in a field near Oakbank/Oakrigg Farm and I have seen one regular most mornings since. At the Reserve there were Swallow, Sand Martins, first Garden Warbler of the year, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Buzzard, Reed Bunting, Tree Sparrow and Grey Heron. On the morning of the 10th I saw 2 Grey Partridge near Coxhill first for well over 10 years in our area. Dave reported at the Community Reserve a pair of Greylag Geese with 3 the best of my knowledge the first breeding in our area....while his wife Margie had seen another pair with young on the pond near The Courance down the Dumfries Road on the left hand side. The Community Reserve also had 7 Oystercatcher, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, Swallow, Reed Bunting, Carrion Crow, Meadow Pipit, Mallard, Goldcrest and Blue Tit. Bankend Wood held 2 male Pied Flycatcher, Goldcrest, Willow Warbler, Chaffinch and Buzzard. On the 12th at the reserve there were 5 Starlings feeding young in nest boxes, 2 Greylag Geese, Roe Deer and many Orange Tip butterflies. An unusual record on the 13th were 3 Pink Footed Geese flying over Mofffat early in the morning while later that day at the Community Reserve there were now 2 families of Greylag Geese with 3 and 6 goslings which was surprising. At the same location on the 16th Dave reported the Greylag again with a Mallard with 4 ducklings and a female Goosander on the lochan. Dave was up at Earshaigs area and the woodland and felled area held a good assortment of birds including 7 Crossbill, 2 Jay, Redstart, Robin, Lesser Redpoll, Tree Pipit, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 male Whinchat, Cuckoo, Wood Pigeon, Buzzard, Reed Bunting, pair of Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, Wren and Grasshopper Warbler. A Hoopoe was seen on the Leadhills Road near the power station on the 18th but unfortunately was gone when I visited the area the following evening but it was nice to see Lapwing, Curlew, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Greylags, Red Grouse, Wheatear, Whinchat, etc. At the Reserve on the 23rd were 2 Canada Geese and a Spotted Flycatcher was calling down the Quarry road where we park our cars. Dave was out and about on the 24th and up at the Coatesgate area he saw Tree Pipit, Linnet, Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, pair of Raven with 2/3 young, Peregrine, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow. The Community Reserve had a male Goosander, 4 Oystercatcher, 2 LBB Gulls, Herring Gull, Greylag Geese, 2 pair of Mallard with 4 and 9 ducklings, Oystercatcher sitting on eggs while 4 Mallard eggs were seen that had been predated by crows. Maurice Henderson while on a fencing job reported a male Hen Harrier at the far end of St Marys Loch. On the 26th at the Reserve was a Mallard with 10 small ducklings and the female was accompanied with the male. There was another brood of small Moorhens and 2 Greylag Geeese were around.

8th May 2018
Update from Iain covering 9th April to present -
Garry had 3 Sand Martins up at Selcoth on the 9th while on my paper rounds I heard 4 Chiffchaff. Dave had the first Willow Warbler calling from the cycle path near Broomlands at Beattock and there were 55 Redwing at Bankend Wood on the 12th. There was an increase in Siskins and Goldfinches being reported with smaller numbers of Lesser Redpoll. At the Reserve on the 14th there were dozens of Redwing feeding throughout the woodland. Other birds included 2 Treecreeper, 2 Oystercatcher, Chiffchaff, 8 Sand Martin and 2 Willow Tit with numerous Pink Footed Geese passing overhead. On the morning of the 15th I heard my first Willow Warbler at Ballplay Tennis Courts. Following on from John Smiths brilliant record of Hawfinch in his garden a wee while back another Hawfinch turned up at Rockhill Guest House briefly and also for the second time in the Foskett's garden and a Linnet was also present with the Siskins. Also on the 16th Pamela Morgan reported the Red Kite over the old School Playing fields while Hugh Thompson and Jim Marrs have also seen them at the bottom end of the Annan valley/Moffat Golf Course. On the 18th Dave reported Willow Warbler at Bankend Wood and at the Community Reserve he saw 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Mute Swan, 14 Oystercatcher, 2 Cormorant, 2 Teal, 6 Mallard, male Goosander, 4 Greylag Geese, 3 Canada Geese, Black Headed Gull and Meadow Pipit. At our Reserve there were 2 Willow Warbler, 5 Teal, 4 Tree Sparrow, lots of Siskins, 3 Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Willow Tit, 5 Willow Warbler, Sand Martins, Swallows, Moorhen, Grey Heron and 10 Mallard between Dave's visit and our work morning. Janet McConnell had 2 Lesser Redpoll at Commonside for the first time in her garden while Jon Haydon had at least 7 birds on the 19th. Dave had 4 House Martin at the Brigg Inn/BT Exchange and then on a birding trip he amassed a good list. At Watermeetings he had 2 Goosander, Lapwing, Oysterctcher, Redshank and Greylag Geese while at the nearby Daer Reservoir there was a Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, 42 Common Gull and 2 Buzzard. The Leadhills road produced House Martin, 220 Black Headed Gulls, 3 Red Grouse, Stonechat, 3 Curlew, Pied Wagtail and 5 Wheatear and at Mennock Water were a pair of Ring Ouzel and 3 Raven. On the morning of the 21st while delivering there were several skiens of Pink Footed Geese overhead and 7 Whooper Swans. At the Reserve were 4 Peacock butterflies and 14 Sand Martin with a Blackcap singing and 5 Willow Warbler. I saw 2 Magpie over Park Circle and 2 Swallows. At Beattock Dave had 4 Swallows and on the road down to Bankend Wood were another 4 Swallow and 3 martins and 3 Buzzard over the wood. I saw my first 5 House Martins up at Willowbank, Beechgrove on the morning of the 23rd and more Swallows over the High Street. The following day a single Greylag Goose flew over the town and a few more Swallows while there were a good few Goldcrest around. At the Community Reserve were a female Goosander, 2 Little Grebe and 2 Oystercatcher. There were two newly hatched Moorhens at the Reserve on the night of the 28th . The following day at the Reserve were a pair of Willow Tit and 4 Tree Sparrow with 4 Buzzards 2 Treecreeper, Long tailed Tit and Reed Bunting and remains of a dead Magpie. Two Cuckoos have been reported from Woodfoot area and The Courance. Up at Corehead there are Curlew though I have not seen or heard one yet of this fast declining bird. At the Reserve on the 2nd May there was a family of 5 young Mallard ducklings which is always nice to see and on the Community Reserve were 5 Tufted Duck and 5 Oystercatcher. At the same location on the 4th Dave had a Whimbrel flying over the scrapes and a Common Sandpiper was on one of the rafts while on our Reserve he briefly heard a Pied Flycatcher and other birds included 5 Lesser Redpoll and 4 Willow Warbler. At the Community Reserve on the evening of the 6th were 4 Greylag Geese, Canada Goose, 12 Tufted Duck, female Goosander, Cormorant, 2 Mallard, female Whinchat, Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler and Reed Bunting. Dave had previously heard a Sedge Warbler calling from Hawthorn trees at the back of his house at Beattock. The first Swifts were over Moffat on the 7th, just a day later than in 2017. While down at the Reserve at night there were 4 Roe Deer and at least one young Moorhen was still on the wetland area and on the adjacent Community Reserve were singing Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and Grasshopper Warbler.

6th May 2018
Our Coffee Morning raised the wonderful total of £1926, much better than expected. This will go a long way towards future work down at the reserve!
As usual, our very grateful thanks go to all involved - those who donated goods for the stalls, things for the raffle and then came and spent their pennies in buying things! Must not forget the 'backroom volunteers' who gave their time and effort in running things on the day. Thank you, one and all.

9th April 2018
Iain saw 2 Swallows over our reserve yesterday evening.

8th April 2018
Update from Iain -
Mid-February onwards:
On the 13th February I had a report of Otter up the Annan around Adamsholm and Goldcrest were recorded in a couple of gardens. At the Reserve the following day were 14 Teal, 22 Mallard, Grey Heron, 5 Moorhen, 2 Buzzard, 2 Willow Tit, 3 Tree Sparrow, 2 Bullfinch, Redwing and Fieldfare. At Coombe Burn near Poldean on the 16th Garry had 8 Brambling. A good variety of birds at the Reserve on the 17th included 7 Skylark overhead, 4 Magpie, a Jay, 150 Pinkfeet, 6 Stock Dove, 33 Teal, 20 Redwing, 3 Treecreeper among many other woodland birds. There were Mute Swans and Canada Geese on the Community Reserve. A Pheasant was reported in a garden at Birnock Water on the 19th and Oystercatcher and Pinkfeet were heard over the town at night. Garden bird numbers were very variable with some complaining about a lack of birds and some saying they were inundated. A Mute Swan hit wires at the Green Frog on the 20th and consequently Moffat was without power for a period of time. While delivering on the 21st I saw 150 Pinkfeet and 3 Song Thrush were singing well. The following day Stewart Johnston reported a great deal of Mole activity down at the old School Playing fields, 5 Dippers on the River Annan and he saw a Kingfisher at Barnhill. On the Community Reserve on the 24th were 7 Canada Geese, Cormorant, 4 Teal, 5 Little Grebe and 7 Oystercatcher. On the Reserve were Willow Tit, 2 Tree Sparrow, 7 Teal, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Reed Bunting and 2 Roe Deer. On the 1st March 7 Brambling were at Meadow House and 3 in a garden along the Ballplay Road while delivering on a really heavy snow day and Song Thrush at 4 locations. While up at Mountain Bleau up near Granton he had 2 Water Rail in a ditch which was excellent. The following two days saw Tom Thomson have 4 Reed Bunting, 3 Pheasant, Oystercatcher and Mistle Thrush in his garden while Roger Grant down at The Courance reported a Lapwing, 6 Snipe, some Teal on one of the ponds. Dave Bradshaw garden had 5 male Blackbird, 2 Reed Bunting, 10 Long Tailed Tits, 3 Song Thrush, Nuthatch and an increase in House Sparrows. John Smith phoned me to say that he had 2 Hawfinch in his garden on the 4th but were gone by the time I arrived but was brilliant and his second record for his garden which also held both Song and Mistle Thrush. While Dave was at the Reserve the unfrozen ditches provided feeding for at least 8 Snipe, 6 Teal, Wood Pigeon, a Kingfisher and 6 Redwing. The Quarry held a pair of Goildeneye, 4 Mallard and 3 Little Grebe. There was a Goldcrest on the path at The Pines, Dundanion Road while doing the deliveries on the 5th and 12 Whooper Swans flew over. A Kestrel was reported in a garden up near Granton and 14 Skylark flew over Mountain Bleau. Ken Hines from Smiths Way in Beattock had the following in his garden- 50 plus Siskin, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Brambling among many Chaffinches and a pair of Sparrowhawk. While heading back from Dumfries on the 7th near The Courance a Green Woodpecker flew across the road which was pleasing. The following day 2500 Pink Footed Geese flew over while doing my rounds and nearly 4000 the next day and 5 Skylark. In the grounds of Dowding House were at least 100 Siskin and Oystercatchers were seen up Annan Water. At the Reserve on the 10th were 2 Bullfinch, 12 Teal, 2 Oystercatcher and 2 Roe Deer. A flock of 100 plus Fieldfare overflew the Reserve on the 12th and 3 Lapwing over the 2 reserves the next day while passage of Pink Footed Geese peaked at 5600 birds and 6 Whooper Swans. The Reserve on the 14th boasted a mixed flock of 42 Lesser Black Backed and Herring Gulls, 10 Pheasant, 1 Barn Owl, 2 Willow Tit and 35 Redwing. The Community Reserve had a Cormorant, 2 Mallard, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Canada Geese and 1 Oystercatcher. Tom Thomson reported a Mute Swan and 2 Grey Heron in a flooded field at Meadow Bank. A good count of 24 Skylark over the Reserve on the 17th with 12 Teal and 3 Roe Deer. At the Community Reserve were 10 Canada Geese, 4 Cormorant, 5 Oystercatcher, 2 Little Grebe and 4 Mallard.
From the 19th for ten days or so there was a spate of sightings of 1/2 Red Kites seen by many observers at different locations from the Beef Tub, Granton, Copper Beech, Hartfell, Beattock, Meadow Bank, Golf Hill, Holehouse Lynn, etc Simon Tweedie photographed one bird in flight up Hartfell Spa and Alan Roulston saw one over the Reserve on the 23rd. The Community Reserve held 13 Oystercatcher, 20 Canada Geese, 6 Cormorant, 4 Little Grebe and 6 Mallard on the 21st. Ken Hines reported a female Wheatear up the Beef Tub on the 25th. The Reserve held 3 Skylark, 2 Oystercatcher, 6 Teal, 100 plus Fieldfare/Redwing, 2 Goldcrest and a Willow Tit on the 28th. While at Carlisle on the 3rd April with Lorna we heard a Chiffchaff and Anne Gibbard reported 2 Osprey over the Green Frog on the 4th. John Smith had a female Blackcap in his garden on the 5th in Greenwood Close. While at the Reserve on the 6th with his grandchildren, Garry reported at least 1000 Redwing and Fieldfare feeding on the woodland floor and adjacent fields with 2 Willow Tits at the feeders and 2 Osprey around. Dave was up Daer/Leadhills area and reported a couple of Wheatear, Osprey, Golden Plover, Redshank, Curlew, Lapwing, etc. At the Community Reserve on the 7th was a calling Chiffchaff, 2 male Goldeneye, female Tufted Duck, 4 Teal and 5 Oystercatcher. There was a lot of frog/toad activity at the Reserve in the ponds and ditches. A Chiffchaff was calling at the Old Well Theatre on the morning of the 8th.

27th March 2018
There hasn't been much reported by way of frogs so far, yet John's garden has seen an absolute pandemonium of them this year and for an unusually long period. Last year they appeared on 22nd February for only two busy days. This year they were first seen 11th March and were there until 19th March with well upwards of 50 each day. They were then largely absent during a cold period but reappeared on the 22nd for another 3 hectic days (making a total of 12 days activity) with again well upwards of 50 each day. Impossible to actually count them, they were just far too active, so it was a case of count a batch and then estimate, but 'over 50' may easily have been 100 within a 8 feet diameter pond! There are still a few moving about today but now probably less than ten. Quite a pile of spawn, needless to say.
Not certain but suspected sighting of our palmate newts too, though seldom sure of seeing them until the pond plants get into growth.

19th March 2018
We have received the D&G County Mammal Report for 2017 from the recorder, Andy Riches, and have posted it here. As always, it makes interesting reading. We encourage you to send all your mammal sightings to Andy (contact details are on the report) to ensure the data is accurate and up to date. The report is in 'PDF' format so you will need an appropriate reader to open it.
County Mammal Report 2017

14th February 2018
Update from Iain on 2018 so far-
Dave Bradshaw saw the following on the 1st January at Moffat Country Park at Beattock - 13 Mallard, 4 Little Grebe, 1 Teal and 5 Mute Swans (2ad/3juv). At the Reserve on the 3rd were 2 Mute Swans, 18 Teal, Willow Tit, Sparrowhawk and 2 Raven. Dave had 38 Siskins in the Cornal Court/Craigie Avenue area. Also in the Beattock area the following day were 15 Redwing in trees along the Cycle Track. Robin McMillan saw a Red Fox on the High Street on the morning of the 5th at 6.30am. On the morning of the 6th I briefly went to the Reserve/Quarry as I began having man flu/bad cold which kept me away from the Reserve for 3 weeks unfortunately. There were 25 Teal, 50 Siskin and a Raven while 90 Pinkfeet passed overhead. At the Quarry were 6 Teal, 9 Mallard and 7 Little Grebe. Dave was at the Quarry 2 days later and saw 36 Mallard, 4 Teal, 5 Little Grebe, 1 Cormorant and 1 Grey Wagtail. At the Reserve on the 10th were 2 Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Willow Tit, 11 Long Tailed Tit, 13 Mallard and 2 Teal. Wintry weather has made it difficult getting work done at the Reserve the past weeks but hopefully we are nearing the end of the Winter. People obviously reported an increase in birds in their gardens but it has still been a fairly quiet winter for garden birds to be honest. A few Brambling but just the odd one or two. Gina Hirst had a Stonechat in her garden briefly on the 18th at Hillend Cottages and some have had the odd Bullfinch. Tom Thomson has had a pair of Reed Bunting atr his feeding station along Meadow Bank. Andy Dickson had a regular solitary Fieldfare which often chases off other thrushes to feed on the apples that Sandra puts out and this bird has stayed in the vicinity of his garden for about a month. Also in his garden a Great Spotted Woodpecker grabbed a female Siskin which got too near on the nut feeder threw it off and on later inspection Andy reported that the Siskin was is all happening at our feeding stations. I eventually made it back to the Reserve on the 31st and 5 Tree Sparrow, 2 Willow Tit, 20 Mallard and 18 Teal were to be seen. At the Quarry were 4 Oystercatcher, 20 Teal, 20 Mallard, 5 Canada Geese, 4 Moorhen and 6 Little Grebe. While out delivering there were 2 Song Thrush at The Paddocks. A few more Kestrel have been seen including a pair near Mollin Burn on the road to Dumfries on the 2nd February. At the Reserve on the 3rd were 2 Willow Tit and 2 Bullfinch. While Dave was at the Quarry on the 11th there were 4 Little Grebe, 24 Mallard, 2 male Goldeneye, 3 Canada Geese, 1 Cormorant, 1 Moorhen and 10 Oystercatcher.

A couple of other snippets -
During the January snow, Dave Bradshaw had the unusual sighting of a Rook (not a crow) at his bird feeder table.
During the few days before the snow, John Smith had a number of sightings (and hearings) of foxes in the Greenwood Close/Merkland/Greenwood Hall area including two in company on two occasions at around midday. Maybe they didn't appreciate the weather as, apart from one set of tracks in the snow, they haven't been seen again.

20th January 2018
Not the best start to the year! First our January meeting had to be postponed for a week and then the winter weather forced it to be cancelled at short notice. The scheduled speaker, Angus Hogg, was snowbound at his house and, with the poor road conditions, restricted parking due to ploughed snow and the underfoot conditions, we little option but to cancel the meeting. We did our best to let people know but we do realise not everyone checks our website, facebook or the posters. If you did struggle along, we apologise for your wasted journey. Hopefully we won't have these problems from now on.

On a brighter note, Dave Bradshaw has provided a selection of pictures that he took during November and December last year. Here are three of them:

A superb picture of a male Brambling really showing off the colourful markings of this winter visitor. Then a typical Sparrowhawk pose showing a beady eyed 'I spy lunch' look. Finally, a great image of a Tree Sparrow clearly showing the differences from its House Sparrow cousin - the chestnut cape covering the head and nape and the very distinctive black spot on the cheek.

January 2018
Another year comes around and we wish our readers all the very best for 2018.
Our entries for 2017 have now been archived and can still be viewed on our archive section. For continuity, we have left the last entry of 2017 in place.
In keeping with our policy of minimizing our on-line material, the 2014 pages have now been dropped. If anyone has any need to view 2014 (or older - back to 2011) material then please get in touch as these pages are still held off-line on our storage system.

1st December 2017
Latest update from Iain:
At the Reserve on the 4th November were 70 Mallard and 19 Teal with Willow Tit up in the Orchard area. John Smith briefly had 3/4 Waxwings on tree tops in the Greenwood Close area on the morning of the 5th but alas did not stay long. In the same area around a Yew tree were a number of Fieldfare, Redwing, Blackbird and Mistle Thrush. Along Auldton Road on the 6th were many hundreds of Fieldfare which were observed by Garry. A comprehensive Reserve list on the 9th was compiled by Dave Bradshaw including a large mixed flock of Fieldfare and Redwing there were also 12 Long Tailed Tits, 4 Coal Tit, 3 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, 20 Chaffinch, 3 Pheasant, 5 Teal, 37 Mallard, 5 Moorhen, 4 Magpie, 10 Jackdaw, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Mistle Thrush, Wood Pigeon, Wren and Robin while a Cormorant flew over the adjacent meadow. At the Community Reserve on the 11th were 3 Cormorant, 7 Little Grebe, 4 Moorhen, 6 Mallard and a male Tufted Duck. On our Reserve were 33 Mallard, 21 Teal, a juvenile Mute Swan, 2 Grey Heron, 9 Magpie (record count), 6 Stock Dove, 3 Mistle Trush, 30 Redwing, 80 Fieldfare, 10 Goldfinch and 150 Siskins feeding on the tops of the Alders. Once again the Auldton Road produced a most unusual sighting in the form of a Water Rail which passed in front of Garry. While at the Reserve on the 15th we saw Ravens on 4 different occasions which was noteworthy. A few days later while clearing the main ditch myself and Dave accidently flushed a Woodcock which was the first for the Reserve for many years and was seen twice later as we continued clearing other ditches. While having a well deserved tea break 12 Long Tailed Tits put on a fantastic show at very close quarters. The young Mute Swan was still on the Middle Pond while there were 15 Teal and 3 Grey Heron. On the adjacent Community Reserve was a male Wigeon, 4 Mallard, 3 Moorhen and 6 Little Grebe. A female Goosander was seen on the Birnock Water near Claudios. At Moffat Manor Country Park on the 23rd Dave Bradshaw saw a record count of 12 Little Grebe with 11 Mallard and 4 Moorhen with a Jay and a Raven in the area. Afterwards up the Red Brae Dave saw 3 Bullfinch, Grey Heron, Buzzard, 5 Blue Tit, 3 Great Tit, 6 Blackbird, 4 Chaffinch and 2 Robins. On the 25th Garry saw a Barn Owl hunting over the Reserve as he headed back into town late afternoon while on the Reserve were 25 Teal and 2 Roe Deer were seen again. Down at the Reserve on the 27th were 31 Mallard, 16 Teal, 3 Moorhen, 10 Jackdaw, 4 Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Pheasant and Mistle Thrush. During the month Grey Squirrels were seen up Dundanion Road and the Chapelbrae though Red Squirrels were seen up the Gallow Hill. At the Reserve on the 29th I saw a female Merlin fly briefly over the wetland area and a Raven went by. Along the Birnock Water 2 male Bullfinch were seen and 3 male Pheasant and 2 Treecreeper were seen by Tom Thompson at Meadow Bank.