We rely on your reports of any natural or wildlife related items of interest.
Please pass your reports to Iain or John. See our Contacts page for details.

Latest News

RESERVE VISITORS TAKE NOTE!
Farm gates are closed for a reason - if you open one to get through then
CLOSE IT SECURELY BEHIND YOU.
Do NOT climb over gates or fences.


You can also find us on Facebook (@moffatwildlife) where you can read all about the latest work and sightings on Dyke Farm Nature Reserve. Click on the logo to go there.


If you wish to join our club (and new members are very welcome) you can download an application form from here. The form is in Microsoft Word format so should be readily viewable. The forms will also be available per the usual outlets.


Clicking on an image on our pages will give normally give an enlarged version (maximum 640 x 480 pixels approximately). Higher resolution images may be available on request (subject to the copyright holder's agreement) - contact John for details. If submitting photographs, cropping and/or resizing to a maximum of 640 pixels wide and maximum of 480 pixels high would be appreciated. This would save us work, is good enough for a computer display and lessens the chance of the image being 'stolen' for use elsewhere.


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 dead.....it 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.