October, 2011

Campfield Marsh

Campfield Marsh
Do you love our Campfield Marsh nature reserve? Share your thoughts with the community. Or if you're thinking about visiting and would like to find out more, ask away!

Campfield Marsh

  • Early morning confrontation at Campfield, 24th October 2011

    One of the local foxes was confronted, on an early morning scavenging trip, by the resident corvids and Shelduck as it attempted to cross an outfall on the saltmarsh. This appears to look like warfare but it is more akin to a game, as all these are old adversaries and look upon it as a diversion to the day's activities of gleening a living from the tideline.

    Fox in a quandary.

    Testing the water!

    Here we go!

    It's a bit deep!

    Oh dear, discretion is the better part of valour!

    Mmm ... and the tide is still coming in!

    Back to the Status Quo.  Job done - calm returns.

  • A Solway Miscellany

    Barnacles are a speciality of the Solway. This group were on the Cardurnock pastures.

    Oystercatchers battling with the tail-end of Hurricane Katia.

    A typical Solway farm here on Campfield Marsh

    Summer Solway and Criffel from Campfield Marsh.

    Barnacles on the saltings of the R. Wampool, Cardurnock Peninsula.

    Barnacles come in many thousands to the Solway, for the Winter.

    The village of Bowness-on-Solway, which marks the west end of Hadrian's Wall and also the beginning of the Campfield Marsh RSPB Reserve.

    The village of Drumburgh, overlooking Burgh Marsh and the inner Solway - well known for its fortified farmhouse.

    The eastern end of the village of Bowness-on-Solway. This is the western end of the Hadrian's Wall long distance walk - if you like real walking, it's great!

    The entry to the eastern end of Bowness-on-Solway village - a welcome sight to the foot-weary hiker ... a great pub just round the corner.

    Solway haymeadows with the distant Lakeland fells.

    Late harvest on the Solway Plain.

    My Solway this morning - Springtime.

    The Campfield Marsh Barn Owl, hunting at dusk - a familiar sight. It's a great hunter - this year the pair have reared 5 young. It has been a good vole year, hence the large brood.

    Pinkfeet and Barnacles grazing at North Plain Farm, towards the end of Winter.

    Solway Corn Stooks - a memory of times long past. It was all handwork in those days ... harvestime could go on for months.

    Storm over the Moss with the distant Caldbecks - typical of the Solway raised mosses.

    The road along the saltmarsh, with Scotland's Criffel in the background.

    Thunder over the peat hags - a wild and lovely place!

    The main street of Bowness-on-Solway - a place of habitation since Roman times and, for all I know, before!

    Late harvest on the Solway Plain, redolent with the sound of bees and the flight of butterflies.

    Whoopers, our winter visitors, on the wetlands at Campfield Marsh Reserve - numbers can exceed 200 at times. Their wild bugling calls, under a winter moon, is a sound never to be forgotten. They can reach upto a 1000 on the Solway as a whole.

    Whoopers come in to roost for the night, on the wetland at Campfield Marsh.

    Wigeon, the heralds of winter, return to us each year on the Solway. These colourful duck are a wonderful sight and their whistling calls under a winter's moon, is a sound unequalled in the wildfowl world.

    Wigeon and reeds in late afternoon sunshine.


  • Barnacles, Pinks, Whoopers and other tales of early October

    Skein of Pinks at sunset

    1st October

    Weather is still warm and sunny. Speckled Woods seen mating today and a flock of about 80 Pinks flew in from the across the saltmarsh and headed off in a south-easterly direction.

    Speckled Woods mating. Female (the larger one) seems to have laid an egg. 

    Side view.

    After flying round haphazardly for a few minutes, they landed on a nearby tree trunk.

    7th October

    Bright and sunny with a strong cold  wind. Flocks of Lapwing were wheeling about the saltmarsh and Saltmarsh Pool. A lone Whooper had taken up residence there, too. At 6.30 pm a skein of 24 Pinks flew west along the Saltmarsh.

     Lapwing wheeling about in the stiff breeze.


    Whooper interrogating a group of Teal on Saltmarsh Pool.

    8th October

    10.30 am  -  a group of 5 Whoopers were seen flying N E over the marsh. At midday 3 Merganser were swimming in the Channel in front of the hamlet. Walked down the Lonning mid-afternoon. The floodwater on the left held 24 Teal, a Curlew and a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a good number of Lapwing. A Robin, singing its Winter song, followed us back down the Lonning.

    Teal having a wonderful time, dashing madly about on floodwater - spray was flying everywhere.

    Lesser Black-backed Gull with a flock of Lapwing on floodwater.

    10th October

    Early mist with rain clearing at midday with falling tide. 2 Ruddy Shelduck (possibly hybrids or escapes) flew in and, with other Shelduck, fed on the mudflats, as tide retreated.  There was plenty of duck activity generally with Wigeon, Teal, Pintail (8) and Shoveler(24) in evidence. At 1pm a flock of Barnacle flew west over the Saltmarsh.

    Ruddy Shelduck (possibly escapes) on tideline

    Wigeon and Shoveler on the tideline as it receeded.

    Part of a small flock of Barnacles flying west.

    12th October

    5 Whooper Swans flew back over to the Reserve and a Reed Bunting was seen on the hawthorn trees along saltmarsh edge.


    A pool had been forming on the marsh, in the corner east of the Viaduct. Two Mute Swans had taken up residence in it lately.

     Six Pinks were out in the channel today. Watched them for a while as the tide came in and flooded them off the sandbar.

    Eventually they flew off east towards the Viaduct.

     13th October

    A much milder day with a few Red Admirals flying. At 10 am a group of 12 - 15 Whoopers flew south over the Viaduct.

    14th October

    A warm misty day -  Butterflies and Dragonflies were still flying.  At midday 9 Shelduck flew in onto the mudflats. A few minutes later a flotilla of 38 Wigeon sailed across the channel off Scargavel Point, as the tide was making. A late Swallow could be seen flying along the marsh.

    On the Lonning a Robin was singing its cheery song

    A  few rays of sunlight momentarily lit up the Estuary.

     Tideline inhabitants

    A study of Shelduck