Caerlaverock news

Nattering Natterjacks

Nattering Natterjacks

Natterjack toad training and surveys.

The Old Pig Sty gets an Eco-Revamp

The Old Pig Sty gets an Eco-Revamp

Last Tuesday was a fantastic day out on the reserve, loads of work was done, both big and small jobs but all of huge importance to the site. It was also our placement student Miriam’s first task that she led from the planning stage onwards and she did brilliantly! Miriam set a small team up in the old pig sty to start construction of the rest of the composters. This will help keep food waste to a minimum and produce some good quality planting material for future projects. Photo by Stuart WinstonAdditionally, volunteers Charlie and Stuart began excavating the rest of the troughs in the pig sty, they did a great job at getting them out and they’ll be joining the other troughs we’ve removed which will be used as trough ponds. Some smaller tasks were finished that had been on our list for a while. This included putting the final Tree sparrow box up in the cottages, hopefully it’ll be as successful as the others! We also had volunteers Bob and Joan dismantle some old rotten infrastructure out over the site to smarten the place up a little. Finally, we managed to rake up some vegetation that had been strimmed the day before, overall incredibly successful day, well done team! In addition, the following day, reserve warden Jake and Miriam did nest box checks for the week. They even saw the first round of chicks and eggs. It is fantastic to know that boxes we put up two months ago are already helping with this year’s breeding season. Placement student Sandy was out checking for Natterjack toads, the team saw eight males in the field where the Hebridean sheep usually graze. It is awesome to see that the Natterjacks are springing into life!

Wildlife Garden Improvements

Wildlife Garden Improvements

What our brilliant volunteers have been helping achieve on our reserve.

Looking after our reserve

Looking after our reserve

Saltcot Merse Litter Pick

Bright Sun and Butterflies

Bright Sun and Butterflies

The sun has been shining on Caerlaverock this week and the butterflies are out and about everywhere enjoying the good weather.

If you go out on the merse today…

If you go out on the merse today…

…You’re sure of a big surprise. You might come across some lesser spotted wardens, or something else…

Signs of spring

Signs of spring

The reserve is starting to look and feel different with the signs of spring becoming more and more noticeable. The long belts of golden daffodils can still be seen but starting to be replaced with cheerful primroses, lesser celandines, and ramsons. The hedgerows are bursting with clusters of tiny white flowers from the spiny blackthorn, wood from this shrub has been used to make walking and riding sticks. Our winter migrants may be on the move, but the staff has started to see and hear some of our summer migrants. The melodic rippling song of the willow warbler was heard from the willow thickets, this tiny bird feeds on insects and can be seen fluttering at the end of branches searching the undersides of leaves for aphids. Our reserves and centre manager had one of his online meetings livened up with the presence of 120 redshanks on the Folly Pond. Other members of the reserve team while out on the merse doing a recce for the spring and summer surveys got several sightings of the highly camouflaged snipe, and were charmed with the rich song of the male skylark as they soared upwards, hovered effortlessly, and then parachuted back down to the ground. Red kite sightings are increasing on the reserve, the four ruffs are still hanging around and can be seen from Avenue tower. Daytime whooper swan numbers may be declining but a pair of goosanders are now taking ownership of the Whooper Pond getting up close to the Peter Scott observatory. The two mute swan nests on the flood ground are growing daily, nest building can take up to two weeks, and staff is excited to see how many eggs will be laid. We still have good numbers of shovelers on the Folly Pond, the barnacle geese are still around and have been taking a preference to the Folly field in the past few days. This week the sparrowhawk has been spotted over the paddock, Folly field, and along the Saltcot Loaning. The swan feeds may have finished but the webcam is still on the Whooper Pond during the day and still swapping to the badger feeding station after 16:30 to catch those badger antics. Click on the link below.https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/caerlaveroc.Tide Times:Fri 08/04 17:38 7.3mSat 09/04 18:45 6.8mSun 10/04 07:29 & 20:20 6.8/6.6mMon 11/04 08:57 & 22:46 7.3/7.5mTue 12/04 10:12 7.3mWed 13/04 11:03 7.9mThu 14/04 11:43 8.5mFri 15/04 12:20 8.9mPhoto credit: Faith HillierBirdsMammalsMute SwanHareGreylag geeseRoe DeerCanada GeeseWeaselShelduckStoatMallardFoxGadwallOtterShovelerBadgerTealWater voleMoorhenBank voleCormorantLittle EgretGrey HeronBuzzardKestrelPeregrine FalconMerlinSparrowhawkGolden PloverOystercatcherLapwingCommon SandpiperRedshankBlack-tailed GodwitCurlewSnipeBlack-headed GullCommon GullHerring GullGreat Black Backed GullWood PigeonCollared DoveGreat Spotted WoodpeckerSkylarkYellowhammerRedwingFieldfareMeadow PipitPied WagtailDunnockChiffchaffSong ThrushBlackbirdGreenfinchGoldfinchWrenGreat TitCoal TitBlue TitLong-tailed TitTreecreeperJackdawRookCarrion CrowRavenStarlingHouse SparrowTree SparrowChaffinchLinnetTwite

Ruffing it in Lochar Field

Ruffing it in Lochar Field

Walking with the wigeon, but definitely not a duck. Mingling amongst the red shank, but look closer...

Spring starting to take off

Spring starting to take off

If you want to catch the whoopers before they go, now is the time! With all this beautiful weather many have decided to start setting off for Iceland and we now only have about 12 of our lovely whoopers left.

Hen harriers and red kites stealing the show

Hen harriers and red kites stealing the show

A male hen harrier was seen yesterday from the Peter Scott Observatory, and one seen out on the saltmarsh today, dipping in and out of creeks and flying low over the gorse. We have also had several sightings of two red kites this week.

Otterly amazing

Otterly amazing

The past few days have been busy on the site, with an abundance of wildlife. The star of the show is undoubtedly the otter, but we've also had sightings of Hen harrier, Oystercatcher, Curlew and fantastic numbers of Barnacle geese and Pink footed geese.

Stormy week

Stormy week

Despite several stormy days this last week there has been plenty to see on the reserve.

Duck, Duck, Goos-ander

Duck, Duck, Goos-ander

Wind and rain have ran wild on the reserve over the past few days but that hasn't stopped plenty of wildlife being present at Caerlaverock. With Long-eared owl, Goosander, Hen harrier, Great white egret, Golden plover and Grey wagtail all being spotted

Hedges of colour

Hedges of colour

Spring is starting to come to life at the reserve with the hedges full of Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Chaffinch and Greenfinch just name a few! A Long -Eared Owl was also spotted, as well as a Hen Harrier and plenty of waders.

Lively reserve

Lively reserve

It is very lively here at the reserve with great numbers of waders and waterfowl, lots of raptor activity and even an otter visit!