The nights are drawing in fast and the mornings are dark too but the Lough at The Tranquil Otter is bustling with winter visitors – not only our guests in the lodges but also plenty of birds out on the lake including mute swan, little grebe, wigeon and moorhen. I love waking up to all the bustle and activity in the summer months but there’s something intriguing about a view gradually emerging on a winter morning too.
And I’m learning about the birds.
I didn’t know anything about gadwalls (a type of duck) at all but I am reliably informed that we have a significant population of them with us for the winter. Peter, our nature reserve bird expert, came for a count earlier in November and spent plenty of time in the bird hide. He recorded high numbers of gadwall (our speciality) and teal – 52 and 118 respectively. Both of these birds have an Amber status on the RSPB website so we are pleased to be doing our bit to encourage them with an ideal habitat.
The Solway Firth, just north of us, is alive with winter visiting birds and the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust reserve over the Firth in Dumfriesshire at Caerlaverock is seeing its busiest time of the year too.
It’s lovely to get out and about and to explore the nature of the area but, I must admit, it’s also an honour to have so much on our doorstep around the Lough as well. The best of both worlds.
Picture taken by Marc Watson whilst staying at Arctic Skua