• HMP giving Nature a Home

    The Crook of Baldoon was very pleased last month to receive lots of homes for nature from HM Prison Dumfries made by inmates of the prison as part of their Community Pay Back Scheme.

    We were approached by Regimes Manager Robert Blackley at the beginning of the year to look into ways that inmates could contribute to the local community and by some constructive method help RSPB support wildlife on our reserves. Personally…

    • 3 May 2019
  • In like a Lion and out like a Lamb and some other weather lore

    It is an old proverb and I remember my Gran saying it. So that is a long time ago. You would be surprised by how many times over my years that saying has been born out and this year is no exception and now the lion has returned in April hopefully not for to long.

    Another proverb which is fairly self evident is

    Our geese numbers went through a steep increase during March across Wigtown Bay to around 13000 Pinks and Barnies…

    • 3 Apr 2019
  • Preparations for this years breeding season

    Since my last post we have managed to track down and hire an amazing piece of machinery to cut the rush across the reserve.  

     

      


     A fantastic low impact machine. Basically, it is a tractor with tracked wheels that can work on very wet land without marking too much and coping to travel on land that a wheeled tractor would sink in. We hired it for a week and managed to cut 75% of the reserve.

     

    The Picture above shows the cut…

    • 12 Feb 2019
  • Happy New Year from the Crook

    The Crook of Baldoon passed quietly into 2019 having several lovely weather days through the holiday period. We did get 8 people for our Boxing day walk but sadly only 2 on the 2nd of Jan. Still we did get some great views of a male hen harrier floating along the edge of the saltmarsh with the muds of the bay. Goose numbers were good through Christmas but as usual the second week of January has seen a great increase in…

    • 18 Jan 2019
  • Now is the season to be jolly

    Since the last post back in October the Crook has been quiet with a slow trickle of passing migrants some staying longer than others and our numbers of wintering birds have increased markedly in the past week.  Of note at present is our group of 7 black tailed godwits that pop in and out with the tide usually with a big group of curlews. The lapwing count has increased with a count last month of 434 after a prolonged spell…

    • 7 Dec 2018
  • Life after Book Festival

    It now seems a dim and distant memory 19 days since the throng of visitors for the book festival at which point I must thank the Crook volunteers for their time covering my dinner times across the ten days it was very much appreciated and so Wigtown is settling into autumn with winter on the horizon.


    Down on the Crook however, the wintering birds are starting to arrive with skeins of pink footed starting to arrive and…

    • 19 Oct 2018
  • One man went to Mow

    Numbers of breeding lapwings unfortunately dropped this year however the number of fledged young increased giving a productivity of just over 3 per pair nesting. The redshank pairs increased as did the numbers of young per brood which is all very positive. The numbers of mallards breeding this year increased as did the number of young produced however many fell fowl of predators we think relieving the predation on the…

    • 18 Sep 2018
  • A quiet but interesting month

    Late June saw me off to the RSPB reserve at Inch Marsh for a very interesting course in the art of rope dragging for Snipe it sounds simple but dragging a 50m rope through dense rush is challenging while monitoring what is being disturbed. The following week the volunteers and I managed to do this exercise across the 98 hectares of wet grassland at the Crook with interesting results unfortunately no evidence of breeding…

    • 8 Aug 2018
  • Flaming June 2018

    It seems an age since my last post with all the surveys for the breeding season and other activities so now seems like a good time for a catch up.

    The season has gone well although it had patchy start with the local farm operations attracting in hundreds of herring and lesser black back gulls into the two lagoons to wash themselves after scrabbling through the plough land looking for tasty morsels just as the first lapwing…

    • 27 Jun 2018
  • Marsh Harrier visits the Crook

    This morning while on early morning survey I had a wonderful sight of an adult female mash harrier we have reports most years of an odd bird passing through and this year I was in the right place at the right time. While I was doing a passerine survey along the edge of the reserve the lapwing started alarm calling a mobbing a large raptor usually a buzzard but this time it was not flying in buzzard fashion more harrier…

    • 14 May 2018
  • Portuguese visitors to the Crook of Baldoon

    Good Morning I thought I would share a bit of interesting news from the Crook. Since I studied ornithology and conservation I have had an interest in the ringing and especially the colour ringing of wildlife and tracking.

    On the 27th April we had three Black tailed godwits on lagoon 1 a male and two females I noted  the male had colour rings red over black and white over green flag. 

    Looking through the data it would…

    • 14 May 2018
  • April 2018

     

     It has been a harsh couple of months with temperatures in sub-zero and then wind chill coming in at -10. The Crook has had pack ice on the saltmarsh that on the spring tide landed 150mm of ice on the upper marsh, making it look like limestone pavement.

                    Figure 1 Pack Ice dropped out on high saltmarsh

     Due to this our redshanks and lapwings have been very slow to get going with at time of writing only nine pairs of…

    • 25 Apr 2018
  • Jan and Feb 2018

    2018 started quite slow with geese coming in quite late in any numbers and then around mid-January the large flocks of pink footed geese started to come in with small numbers of barnacle geese in the third week. Due to wildfowling most of the geese only used the estuary muds as a roost with some lingering until an hour after dawn. As the month of January progressed into February they followed true to form knowing when…

    • 2 Mar 2018
  • Snow and Ice

    Hopefully not lasting to long but the worst snow and Ice since 2011 has hit the Wigtown bay and the Crook this past weekend making life difficult for the wildlife. Both lagoons totally frozen so few birds roosting most hoping to get a feed out on the saltmarsh mud and roosting out there as well. Some flocks of pink footed geese moving about the bay trying not to find wildfowlers at their next resting place, there is the…

    • 12 Dec 2017
  • November is here along with the redwings and fieldfares

    Well firstly the footpath is usable unfortunately the first people to use it are dog walkers and within day we are having to clear of dog mess from this new path. It makes me very cross that we have to constantly harp on about this with signs on site to remind people and personally I hate the countryside being littered with signs and as a dog owner my self that comes to work with me I clean up and take it home and bin…

    • 17 Nov 2017
  • October already

    October already were has the year gone since my last blog in July a very wet and miserable summer has passed. August was the wettest since 2012 and made putting in the new western boundary path near impossible September did not do us any favours either with just short of 200mm new money 7and 5/8inches old but the volunteers have persisted and this week we set the final bits of geogrid so now just the tidying up and putting…

    • 15 Oct 2017
  • The seasons are changing

    It is surprising how quickly the weather can change this week Monday was so hot and Wednesday so windy and wet typical British weather. 

    The Crook has attracted a few new breeding bird this year which has made the my job all the more pleasurable, as well as or success with the lapwings and redshanks we have had at least five broods of mallards and this last week three week old moorhen chicks and a parent on field 1 then out…

    • 28 Jul 2017
  • Mid June Blues

    Good Afternoon

    Well the sun is out again giving beautiful blue skies and the young herons are sporting beautiful pale blue plumage and the young lapwings are starting to show the iridescent blue and green plumage. So far we are well ahead on our numbers of young with 22 young lapwings from 11 nests and the herons have 7 young out of 19 birds counted we cannot be sure about the number of nests as well at present as we have…

    • 19 Jun 2017
  • Flaming June

    Well a bit early for the title of this blog. Anyway just an up date on the breeding waders and a few bits a pieces in general.

    well on the lapwing side things are going well we have lost a few but until we get a final count of flying young I am loathed to commit to a number but there are still 7 pairs defending young some have made the journey out on to the saltmarsh and others have remained on the lagoons yesterday…

    • 2 Jun 2017
  • Crook of Baldoon May 2017

    The past month has been both interesting and hectic with the Thursday volunteers doing fantastic work back with the cement mixer putting up new stock fencing for feeding creeps and doing some plumbing they have as always impressed me with their commitment

    and drive.

     

    On the bird front our hoped for Osprey return fell short as this young male called and started to nest but gave up he may be back in the future.

    The breeding…

    • 16 May 2017
  • Ospreys on Wigtown Bay

    I have been asked several times recently about the Wigtown Bay Ospreys. Some of you will remember that our birds were disturbed at the nest around 4 years ago when a new young non mature female had started to be courted by our male EP after losing the female HD the previous year, the following year they returned and things kicked of again but a further disturbance by photographers disturbed them again. The Female DK is from…

    • 18 Apr 2017
  • Viewing platform now open to all

    We have finally finished the viewing platform ready for Easter it is as wheelchair friendly.  We have installed anti slip strips and a geo grid system to enable easy use by wheelchairs there is a wheelchair friendly picnic table as well

    • 4 Apr 2017
  • the seasons are a turning (winter into spring)

    Well on the goose front since the close of the wildfowling season the Crook of Baldoon has been the place to be on Wigtown Bay. Flocks of several thousand pink footed and barnacle have been feeding across the saltmarsh and in field 1 they seem to only be disturbed by the military jets flying through to a exercise in the Luce Bay.

    The teal have been using lagoon 1 intermittently number getting to 450 some days accompanied…

    • 8 Mar 2017
  • Leucistic bird at the Crook

     With the end of the wildfowling season it is amazing how quickly the geese seem to have lost there fear of Man. As this morning I sat in plain site only a 100m away from the flock and watched them for some time and managed to get this grainy picture of this leucistic barnacle in amongst the 1500 others. 

    The terms leucistic and leucism are derived from a medical terminology basically leuc- is a Latin variant of leuk- from the…

    • 21 Feb 2017