And, yes, the weather was dry at last! Grey, rather cold but calm and with conditions improving throughout the day such that we finally had a little sun in the late afternoon.
First spell out from Kirkgunzeon was to the Carsethorn/Southerness areas. A bit of a favourite of mine given that, years ago, it had proved possible to rent a cottage a couple of times or so at Carsethorn and which had a huge picture window looking out on the estuary. Little had changed and we had a fine array of duck and waders which included a single Whimbrel, odd ones of which winter in the area. An ever changing tabloid of Wigeon, Pintail, Shelduck, Red-breasted Merganser and a few Greater Scaup entertained us with a supporting cast of Oystercatcher, Curlew, Knot, Redshank, Dunlin and Turnstone being found. A backdrop to all was the presence of a few groups of Barnacle Geese, a party of Pink-footed Geese and a couple of overflying Canada Geese.
Southerness Point produced some offshore Great crested Grebe, a Black-throated Diver and a fine female Merlin sitting out on some rocks. Various passerines locally included some handsome male Greenfinches which were quite a treat given their spasmodic appearance at home in recent months. Following this we did a "round Robin" visit to the Mersehead, Kippford and Rockcliffe areas and a convoluted journey around various woodland blocks before returning for a late breakfast!
An afternoon outing took in various lochs ( primarily Milton, Auchenreoch and Carlingwark ) where we had a good variety of duck. Goldeneye winter in good numbers here, but Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Teal, Goosander, a single Pochard were all present along with Whooper and Mute Swans and Grey lag Geese. At Carlingwark Loch at Castle Douglas the chilly afternoon welcomed three Sand Martin as evidence that spring was actually on its way! A later visit to Loch Ken produced nothing new, but brought closure on what had been an immensely enjoyable and rewarding day!