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.
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.
In spite of the sunshine, there was still ice on the pond.
But there was plenty of open water too which allowed for this….
And there were displays of goose yoga too.
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….
…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.
As I got near the hide at the end of the track, I was given a hard stare by a 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.
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.
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.
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.
I was reminded of the starlings at Gretna as they swooped and swirled about…
…before flying off over our heads into fresh fields.
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.