Sunday, 25 November 2012

Campfield Marsh and the Solway

Picked John A up at 06.00 and off we headed to Cumbria.  My target bird for the day was the Great White Egret but was really going to check out Campfield Marsh and the surrounding area.  It wasn't a big tide but time of the High Tide coincided with no rain, a time of the day coinciding with that big yellow thing in the sky  being visible and me not being at work.  We arrived at Bowness-on-Solway and immediately the speed decreased as we kept stopping and looking at the Solway with lots of ducks, waders and gulls around.  On our second stop I thought we had spotted the Great White Egret but as it bobbed up and down about 300m away I realised it was a Little Egret but that was still a great start.  Other birds on view as we stopped started on our way to Campfield included Knot, Bar Tailed Godwits, Shelduck, Redshanks, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Curlew and a few Snipe were also noted.  Eventually we got to Campfield Marsh and in we went, plenty of small bird action with Linnet, Chaffinch, Robins, Wrens, Skylarks, Dunnocks, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and on the Farmland Pools were lots of Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveller and a few Pintail.  From the main hide there were plenty also including a Whooper Swan and a couple of Roe Deer.   Back out to the Solway and after a tip from a couple of locals and a 50m drive in the car we spotted the Great White Egret although I don't think we would have missed it without the information.  We did spend a good hour watching it though as the tide was dropping now and the majority of the birds seemed to be heading out to the sandbanks in the middle of the estuary.  We then headed along towards Anthorn making notes of places to visit when the weather gets a bit warmer in pursuit of John's beloved Dragonflies.  Just as you reach Anthorn the amount of birds on and next to the water dramatically increases with the far off sandbanks well inhabited with Waders.  Lots of Barnacle Geese around here with quite a few Shelduck around also.  A stop here for 30mins then a return drive took us into lunchtime.  The biggest hint I can give anybody who visits this place is to bring lunch with you as shops are non existent and pubs have nothing to fill ones wee empty stomach.  We actually ended up in Carlisle at a well know establishment that we purchase Latte from frequently.  We then headed off for our other main aim of the visit, the Gretna Murmuration.  We got to where all the action had happened the past couple of years and so had a few other people but as it got dark and nothing happened we headed off into Gretna Green itself and as soon as we reached the Village Shopping Outlet we spotted them.  By now it was very dark and not a great lot could be seen but the noise was tremendous as they dived down into the trees right next to us on the edge of the outlet.  They did about 5mins of Swarming but then headed into the trees.  Not a bad day which would have only been bettered by a longer and better view of the murmuration, mind you one can not have everything although John did as he had John for company (wink wink).  Now for the pics and the vids although not as many as usual as we spent a lot of time "just looking"

For those few who have not visited the area this sign we came across might be handy.


Great White Egret




Barnacle Geese near Anthorn overlooking the Solway 


Finally a couple of videos as well but as usual the reminder is 
that they are better watched thru UTube in HD in the large format




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