Thursday, 6 June 2013

Beautiful Bluebells and Brilliant Birds

We're just back from a lovely few days in 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.

In August, many of the woodland areas in Dumfries and Galloway are a mass of Himalayan Balsam, an invasive non-native plant with a pretty flower and a vile smell, which takes over and drowns out anything else. It was so lovely to wander round these same woodlands and to see not only bluebells but also a wealth of other spring flowers.

I'll be blogging more about our visit in the next few days!

12 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

those bluebells are so gorgeous! glad you had a good trip!

eileeninmd said...

The bluebells are lovely! Nice bird sightings,sorry you missed the crossbill!

Carol Steel said...

Your photos are wonderful. Such vibrant blue.

Caroline Gill said...

The area sounds truly wonderful. I haven't seen a Redtart or 'Pied Fly' this year. Stunning bluebells, Juliet! We would also love to see a Crossbill ... the species has alluded us thus far.

Rabbits' Guy said...

That looks great. I have seen a cross bill a very few times at our feeder.

speedyrabbit said...

Beautiful thats all I can say

The Weaver of Grass said...

We love Dumfries and Galloway too - it has everything.
Aren't crossbills limited to the very tops of trees in evergreen forests? That is the only place I have ever seen them.
Love the bluebells.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi Weaver, yes, crossbills are seen only in the tops of evergreen trees. Several of the woods we visited in Dumfries and Galloway have lots of evergreen trees and are known to have crossbills. (Plus lots of other woods we've visited in Scotland!)

Karen M said...

What beautiful color! Lucky you.

Ms Sparrow said...

The photo of the clearing full of bluebells is breathtaking.

Bill said...

Thanks for sharing this delightful experience.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Those colors, combined with birdsong, are the reason that I find spring/summer so melodic.