Posts Tagged ‘River Nith’

Gulls and Goosanders in a frozen world

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Last year I photographed goosanders fishing for lampreys on the River Nith right in the centre of Dumfries. With the big freeze this year they were finding it harder to catch anything but for me it was an opportunity to photograph them in a different setting.

Here is a male having just surfaced

Goosander 4723 B

and another of it standing amongst the ice.

Goosander 4727 B

These two shots show a female just taking off from some turbulent water.

Goosander 4738 B

Goosander 4732 B

The local gulls were also looking rather fine against the snowy backdrop. This is an immature black-headed gull

Black-headed gull 4696 B

and here is an adult and an immature out on the frozen river.

Black-headed gull 4710 B

Finally an unusual sight - a coot having to walk across the ice.

Coot 4679 B

Winter ducks - an icy world

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The River Nith which flows through Dumfries froze this year - well not quite completely but enough to be very spectacular. It is in fact tidal and the incoming tide pushed up great icebergs and kept a small channel of clear water which the ducks and gulls made the most of.

I spent several hours taking pictures of them out on the ice and was very pleased with the results.

Here is a pair of mallard sleeping on the ice!

Mallard 4659 B

And here a male enjoying the sun.

Mallard 4658 B

I am particularly fond of this female sitting next to a small ice floe.

Mallard 4660 B

As the tide came in the ducks had to jostle with the drifts of ice being pushed around.

Mallard 4662 B

Because so many areas of water normally frequented by wildfowl were frozen the Nith played host to ducks not usually seen in the centre of town. A small group of goldeneye mixed in with the mallard and were particularly photogenic. This is the female……

Goldeneye 4675 B

and this the male

Goldeneye 4676 B

Tufted ducks were also present and here is a fine male.

Tufted Duck 4688 B

Black-headed Gulls

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

I was out earlier on this month looking for otters on our local river, the River Nith. There have been a number of sightings but so far I have failed to see any. However I did come across a group of black-headed gulls feeding by a water treatment outflow and was very pleased with this image.

Black-headed gull 4567 B

Goosanders and lampreys

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

In late Autumn goosanders gather on the river Nith where it flows through Dumfries town. Here there is a weir called the Caul and just below it in the seething bubbling water the goosanders fish.


Often they catch small fish - trout and salmon parr (they are not popular with the fishermen!) but at this time of year the river lamprey are moving upstream from the sea in readiness to spawn. The goosanders love them.


The image above shows a male struggling to subdue a lamprey, as does the one below


The next image is of a immature male (still with a brown head) riding out the rough water.


Some times when a bird catches a lamprey and the others notice then a great game of catch begins, with the chasing goosanders trying to grab the food.


Once the lamprey has been swallowed there is much gulping and shaking to get it down - often followed by a good wing stretch.



In good light this activity is wonderful to photograph - it’s just a pity the river flows right in to the sun making it difficult to avoid shadows on the birds’ heads.