Scots Roots

The Solway Firth

Solway Firth 1

Solway Firth 2The Svalbard Islands lie midway between Norway and the North Pole.

Every year, as winter approaches, 42,000 barnacle geese leave the islands to overwinter on the mudflats of the Solway Firth to the south west of Scotland. That’s a journey of around 2,000 miles.

Solway Firth 3The geese will roost on the mudflats at night for safety and during the day they graze in the surrounding fields. The Scottish Government compensates local farmers for their lost grazing, which is needed for sheep and cattle.

Thanks to the efforts of the WWT’s Caerlaverock Wetland Centre and the RSPB’s Mersehead Reserve, which each provide a managed and undisturbed refuge for the birds, these geese have recovered since the 1940s when only a few hundred remained.

Solway Firth 5

Solway Firth 4Around 4,000 whooper swans also spend the winter here having spent the summer breeding in Iceland. If you’re ever in the vicinity of whooper swans, you’ll soon realise how they got their name.

WWT: Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.

RSPB: Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Solway Firth 6


Chanonry Point
January 27, 2017, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Photographs, Wildlife | Tags: , ,

Chanonry Point 1The best place in the UK to see bottlenose dolphins is at Chanonry Point, a small spit of land on the Moray Firth, where the firth narrows between the Point and Fort George.

Chanonry Point 3Most often seen on a rising tide not long after the tide turns, the dolphins like to play in the strong currents as they chase the fish in.

Chanonry Point 2The shingle beach at the Point often hosts large crowds of people as they watch the dolphins feeding just metres away.

Chanonry Point 4A lighthouse is situated at the point. Designed by Alan Stevenson, uncle of Robert Louis Stevenson, the lighthouse was first lit in 1846 but has been fully automated since 1984.

Chanonry Point 5

A pair of young red deer stags
December 24, 2015, 10:36 am
Filed under: Photographs, Wildlife


Some deer in the mist yesterday…
December 29, 2014, 4:22 pm
Filed under: Photographs, West Lothian, Wildlife

Deer in the mist

October 31, 2014, 5:54 pm
Filed under: Photographs, Wildlife | Tags: , , ,

Machair 2Machair, a Gaelic word which means fertile low lying grassy plain, is one of the rarest habitats in Europe occurring only on the western coasts of Scotland and Ireland.

In the Outer Hebrides, Machair habitats run along the western shores of Uist, Harris and Lewis.

It is formed by sand being regularly blown ashore by Atlantic gales.

Machair 1Over time the calcium rich sand and traditional crofting land practices have led to the development of fertile grassland habitats renowned for wildflowers, birds and insect life.

Machair habitats are threatened by changes to the way the land is managed – a reduction in the number of crofters means a reduction in the amount of grazing taking place – and by increased erosion due to rising sea levels.

Machair 3

Red deer at Black Mount
December 17, 2013, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Wildlife | Tags: , ,

We saw these red deer on a recent walk from Bridge of Orchy.

Copyright © Scots Roots Research 2013

Little Egret at Harrapool, Isle of Skye
April 22, 2013, 3:41 pm
Filed under: Wildlife | Tags: , ,

Here’s a short video of a Little Egret that I filmed on a trip to Skye in 2011.

Copyright © Scots Roots Research 2013

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