Making the most of it

The Queen's House, refurbished and recently re-opened, Greenwich

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She took a trip down the river in glorious weather to visit the newly refurbished Queen’s House at Greenwich.

The Queen's House, refurbished and recently re-opened, Greenwich

We had another fine, calm day here, below freezing at the start and never getting very warm in spite of the sunshine.  I didn’t have the chance to do anything interesting after breakfast as I had to drive to Dumfries to visit the orthopaedic outpatients department at the Infirmary.  They had summoned me for a appointment without telling me why and I was interested to find out whether it was my new knee or my old hip which was of interest to them.

I was seen very promptly and it turned out that that my knee was the object of their concern but after an x-ray and a good chat with the head nurse, I was given the OK to carry on as I have been and I went off fairly relieved.

It is not far from the Infirmary at Dumfries to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Caerlaverock and as it has a cafe, I thought that I would see if I could spot a few birds and have my lunch there.

It is not hard to see birds at Caerlaverock as they have a large pond where they feed the birds twice a day.

Folly pond caerlaverock
They use the large funnel in the foreground when they want to collect birds for ringing.

In spite of the sunshine, there was still ice on the pond.

A whooper swan
A whooper swan among the icebergs
A whooper swan
Another whooper swan shows off its ring

But there was plenty of open water too which allowed for this….

Canada goose
A Canada goose creating a stir

…and this…

mute swan
A mute swan stretches its wings

…and this.

whooper swan flexing its muscles
And another swan flexes its muscles

And there were displays of goose yoga too.

canada goose

As well as the swans and geese, there were a lot of ducks about.  A lot of them were mallards but there were many widgeon too…


…which are very pretty birds.

There are good views of the surrounding countryside as well as the pond from the top floor of the hide.


I left the hide at the pond and walked down one of the long tracks….

Caerlaverock track

…which run between high banks to keep the paying customers from upsetting the wildlife.   There are occasional small hides along the way and from one of them, I got my first good look at just a few of the many thousand barnacle geese that overwinter at Caerlaverock.

barnacle geese

As I got near the hide at the end of the track, I was given a hard stare by a Hebridean sheep.

hebridean sheep

I was interrupting its lunch.

From the two storey hide at the end of the track, I could get a good view over the fields and marshes to the Nith Estuary with Criffel beyond….


….as well as another of the viewing points for visitors.

Caerlaverock Tower


I watched the geese in the fields for a while and looked in vain for a peregrine falcon which I was told was in the area and then walked back to the centre for a light lunch.

After lunch, I returned to the pond hide.

Other ducks were to be seen.

tufted ducks
Male and female tufted ducks

There were teal and scaup as well but not in range of my camera (or my eyesight).

By far the most numerous ducks were the widgeons which came and went in waves….



There was great excitement at the pond when the two o’clock feed took place.

feeding time at Caerlaverock

The seed tempted a widgeon to come out of the water near the hide.


At one moment, with a great roar like an aeroplane taking off, the barnacle geese rose from the field behind the pond in a great mass.

barnacle geese

I was reminded of the starlings at Gretna as they swooped and swirled about…

barnacle geese

…before flying off over our heads into fresh fields.

barnacle geese

I took the hint and made my way back to the car and drove home.

Mrs Tootlepedal, who had been volunteering at the Buccleuch Centre cafe over lunch, was watching the Powell and Pressburger film of the Tales of Hoffman when I got home but when Mike Tinker came round to enquire after the state of my knee, she joined us and we enjoyed a cup of tea and a Jaffa cake or two.

You may well feel that there have been a bit too many Caerlaverock pictures in the post but since I found that I had taken 170 shots when I put them on the computer, you have got off lightly but I had to spend a lot of time going through them and that took up the rest of the afternoon.

As I finished off with a splendid meal of bacon, eggs, baked beans and fried bread for my tea, I felt that I had made the most of what could have been a rather boring day driving to Dumfries and back.

No flying bird of the day today as there have been far too many already so a Canada goose stands in as the posing bird of the day.

Canada Goose

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Making the most of it

  1. What a splendid post from the excellent guest picture through wonderful shots of every sort of water bird to the account of your delicious evening meal, a real pleasure to look at.

    1. Being Hebridean sheep, I think that they eat anything they can find! The time to visit Caerlaverock is when the geese are there of it is birds that you want to see. There is no doubt about that.

  2. I like the swan amidst the ice, and agree that the widgeons are very pretty (albeit having what sounds like a made up name!). Glad your appointment was just a snoop at the knee – unexplained summons can be very alarming.

  3. Wow! I wish that I could find a wildlife refuge like that someplace close to where I live! Your photos of all the waterfowl were wonderful, and I loved them all.

    It’s strange that they didn’t notify you in advance of your appointment, but as long as the knee is okay, that’s the main thing.

  4. Glad to hear that NHS is still functioning – at least in parts – and that knee is holding up.

  5. What an absolutely splendid day. Not only good news about your knee, but wonderful weather to see all those birds. Great photographs – I particularly liked the appealing look of the Canada goose standing in as FBOTD.

  6. Pleased the knee was given the OK as it brought you to the Wetlands and all those wonderful photos. Love the goose yoga demonstration and the countryside views with all the different birds.

  7. I loved this post. The whooper on the ice made me laugh and those widgeon close-ups really captured the gorgeous feathers. Nice!

    1. These are most likely to be naturalised imports. There are a lot of Canada geese in the UK and they are not always regarded with favour on account of the noise they make.

  8. With all the great photos today, I’m taken by the expression on the face of the Hebridean sheep… most likely how l looked arriving back at the office after so many days off for our Thanksgiving holiday. Ah well!

  9. A beautiful collection of waterfowl, and I like the Hebridean sheep. I looked them up. An interesting breed that almost went extinct, they can have two or more pairs of horns.

    The trees with the reddish-orange branches are beautiful. Do you know what they are?

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