Thursday, 31 August 2017

Moody Skies and Flower Lined Paths

Although we're back home from Dumfries, we're still on staycation and enjoying the local area! One of our favourite walks is from Cramond Brig to South Queensferry. It passes through some lovely scenery and on a very sunny day is an excellent butterfly walk.

Yesterday, although it was sometimes sunny, the skies were more often very moody and dramatic

We were pleased to see how the fields in the Dalmeny Estate often have wild field margins, full of flowers

these are great for wildlife and very attractive.

A large part of the walk goes alongside the Firth of Forth and offers lovely views or the water

including this view of Eagle Rock, so called because there is a worn carving on it that some believe to be a carving of an eagle

There were plenty of birds around on the mudflats, including good numbers of curlew, oystercatchers and redshanks and several groups of sandwich terns, Crafty Green Boyfriend caught this tern in flight with a fish in its mouth!

 The walk also passes by Dalmeny House

We ended up for a late lunch in a pub in South Queensferry.

The food and service weren't as good as they've been in the past, but the beer was excellent and the beer garden is lovely

though the peace is sometimes disturbed by the trains passing over the nearby Forth Rail Bridge

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Threave Gardens and Nature Reserve

On our last day in Dumfries we visted Threave. There's a stately home with gardens, a castle and a nature reserve. It was a beautiful day, so we stayed in the outdoors! Threave Gardens, owned by National Trust for Scotland, are beautiful, with woodland areas, wetland areas and wildflower meadows.

There are some lovely touches to help wildlife including this bat roost

this area for the bees

and this bee and bug hotel

Some nice sculptures too, including this wonderful piece by Ronald Rae

which has all sorts of detail in it, including ducks, a wolf and a human figure.
this herd of Belted Galloway cattle (a local breed) in the picnic area

and this lovely Japanese style water feature

Again lots of wildlife, particularly butterflies! I have never seen so many butterflies anywhere as we did last week in Dumfries and Galloway! The highlight at Threave was seeing this wall butterfly

After lunch on the cafe balcony at the gardens we drove a wee bit further over to Threave Nature Reserve, which incorporates a pretty walk to the river

 where you can get a boat to Threave Castle

We were too late in the season to see the ospreys at their nest, but we were delighted to see about 8 red kites, which are wonderful raptors to see, so colourful and so large!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Cairnsmore of Fleet National Nature Reserve and Pool of Ness

Our next trip while we were staying in Dumfries was to Cairnsmore of Fleet, a beautiful upland national nature reserve, which is managed by Scottish National Heritage.

The scenery here is spectacular

and there is plenty of wildlife to see! One of the stars of the show is the gold ringed dragonfly, a large, easily identified insect that isn't shy of having its photo taken 

Again we saw lots of butterflies, including lots of peacocks

and painted ladies 

but also the much rarer Scotch Argus

Plenty of birds around too, including ravens.

 Some very handsome sheep too

On the way back to Dumfries, we noticed a signpost down to Pool of Ness, which we thought looked interesting. What a lovely little spot it turned out to be too, though it's a steep and muddy path to get there!

Monday, 28 August 2017

In and around Lockerbie

On our second day on our recent trip to Dumfries, we visited two nature reserves near Lockerbie. In the morning we walked round Castle Loch at Lochmaben.

This is a lovely loch

with a very attractive, mostly wooded walk round the edge.

There are several lovely wood carvings round the walk

We had lunch in Lockerbie, a town which previously we had only ever passed through on the train. Sheep graze fields very close to the town centre though the only sheep we got photos of were these cute statues in the town centre

After lunch we made our way to Eskrigg Nature Reserve, 1 1/2 miles outside Lockerbie, on the site of a former curling pond, but now an area of wet woodland 

It's a wonderful place for wildlife, this picnic area particularly was full of interest

In just this small area we saw lots of butterflies

including peacocks (left) and red admiral (right)

there were also a number of common lizards

and this female common darter dragonfly

The nearby bird-hide offered great views of this lovely red squirrel, who seems to have been in the wars a bit, with part of his left ear missing.

So if you're ever in the Lockerbie area, these are two definite places to visit!