21st March 2013 – BLUE-WINGED TEAL and Kites galore…

With my day off coinciding with some cold but bright weather I decided to spend a few hours birding in the Castle Douglas area of Dumfries & Galloway. One of the great things about living on the Solway near Carlisle is that whichever way you head out of the city you are surrounded by superb scenery. And it only took about an hour to reach our first site – the River Dee at Threave Castle NT near Castle Douglas.

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Our target here was a drake Blue-winged Teal, I’ve seen five of these smart-looking ducks from North America before but the last was way back in 2006, so I was hoping to catch up with another one today. The bird at Threave was first found on 27th November 2010, and has returned to the same area in the two subsequent winters, and thankfully after a short search I picked out the bird flying in with a group of Teal….

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After a few circuits flying around it dropped onto the water out of sight and we had to wait a little while before it emerged again…

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He then decided to get out of the water and onto a branch – showing his bling-free legs in the process…

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After gaining great views of this bird and with the sun still shining we drove the short distance north to the Loch Ken – Dee Marshes area, and it wasn’t long before the first of many Red Kites flapped lazily over the car…

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Unfortunately the only Greenland White-fronted Geese we could find in the now bitterly cold wind were incredibly distant…

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But we’d had a great few hours birding in this superb area – and I still managed to get home before my little lad got in from school – cheers Dave for doing the driving!

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