A glorious day, but cold with an occasional rather cutting breeze!
Our first port of call was Loch Ken again where we could spend more time than previously. The visit yielded up a few Greenland White-fronted Geese, Willow Tit, Nuthatch and several Red Kite as specialities which can be met up with in that area. From the hide Black-headed Gulls were already in possession of their territories on the islands provided and the penetrating calls of Teal and their frantic pursuits were ever present as a background. Titmice, a few winter thrushes and the emergent song of several of our own resident passerines provided a backdrop to a pleasant walk added to by the drumming of a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
A deliberate "time out" within Laurieston Forest, casting our eyes skyward, produced several Buzzards and a couple of Red Kite in a clear blue sky together with a single male Goshawk for a short period. A real reward to perseverance! Around us several Common Crossbill fed and the calls of Siskins were ever present. We moved location a couple of times, but gained little improvement against our initial efforts. A single Magpie on the very edge of the forest together with a lone Red Grouse on the moors above Gatehouse of Fleet added further variety to the day. The former species is not that common on the Solway and, at the end of the week, I felt its present status is little different to that of twenty years ago!!
Time spent around and within the Cairnsmore of Fleet N.N.R was a real pleasure. The weather was magnificent and abundant frog spawn in various pools around the Field Centre pain further testimony to "Spring". The above Centre is well worth a visit with some modern and impactive displays. The forest by now was becoming quiet but Jay, Common Crossbill and Siskin were noted and, on the nearby open upland areas, Skylarks sang and doubtless newly returned Meadow pipit and Pied Wagtails were busily feeding.
Onward to an all time favourite area, that around Murray's Monument in the Galloway Forest Park.
Patience was finally rewarded with both Peregrine and Golden Eagle being seen within the sweeping vistas available from this vantage point. Another very fulfilling day!