Dumfries and Galloway. It's our favourite holiday destination, there are so many lovely woods and coastal areas to explore. We usually visit in August, when the area's famously clear night skies mean we can stargaze and watch for meteors. This time though, I'd been reading about some of the birds that we miss by always visiting in late summer, so we planned our spring visit with care, even listing specific woodlands and the birds we might see there.
We were very lucky in our visit to Mabie Woods in seeing pied flycatcher and redstart almost immediately and hearing wood warblers soon afterwards. So that was three of the main species on the list checked off immediately! It was particularly lovely to see the pied flycatcher flying round a sunny woodland glade! The other bird on the list was the crossbill, which still remains elusive. I know many places where we should be able to see crossbills, but so far I never have!
Something that we hadn't planned for the holiday was the richness of the bluebells! This year the spring has been late and we couldn't have possibly predicted when we would see the bluebells at their best. However we were so lucky, almost every wood we walked through was a mass of bluebells, shimmering under the trees and scenting the air with their wonderful hyacinth scent.
I'll be blogging more about our visit in the next few days!