This week I have made my final journey to Stranraer, Dumfries,New Galloway and Moffat to show my films. On the drive to Stranraer I saw nine Buzzards, four Kestrels, one Kite and a Barn Owl still hunting after 9am. By the roadside near Newton Stewart there was a flock of thirty Whooper Swans and at high tide a Little Egret was feeding in a flooded river channel. In the sea off Stranraer there were good numbers of Scaup plus a Slavonian Grebe.
On Wednesday I made a precarious journey to Dumfries with four inches of snow covering the roads. I sat in my car in Gatehouse of Fleet for an hour overlooking a garden full of feeding Chaffinches. There were at least eighty present plus a Yellowhammer. Ten years ago this same garden had more than ten Yellowhammers present each day indicating the present plight of this stunning bird. On another day I spent some time under my camouflage cloth filming Siskins. As this garden was surrounded by pine trees it was perfect for them and more than seventy individual Siskins were feeding.
On Thursday I spent time in a third garden filming Red Squirrels in the snow. At least six different squirrels were feeding on hazelnuts. Some of these squirrels had more of a grey coat and it was a matter of waiting for the more colourful ones to come in camera view. With more than seventy Kites at the feeding station there is no doubt I am going to miss my annual visits to South West Scotland with its wildlife.
Back home in the garden on the sixteenth, with a temperature of 10°C the male Blackcap was merrily singing away!.