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I had not looked round Lockerbie itself yet, so on Friday morning took a stroll round the town centre on foot, including a visit to the library for information on the Eskrigg Nature Reserve nearby. Lockerbie’s handsome buildings are also of red sandstone.  The parish church, which was closed, was enormous.

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So was this building, which I assumed to be the Town Hall, though, other than a minuscule plaque commemorating the town’s (and others’) disaster of 1988, there was no other sign attached to the building at all.  I had to go inside to confirm that my assumption was correct.

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Nearby were these and five other sheep

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I decided that my day would be best filled by a trip to Caerlaverock, to visit the Wildlands and Wetlands Trust reserve, and the castle if there was time.  This decision had the advantage of taking me though more glorious countryside.

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Having studied the plan of the WWT site over coffee, I started my tour of several of the hides. At one, I was grateful to a couple who visit most days for pointing out where the linnet and the redshank were to be seen.

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Swallows discussing whether they should be thinking about returning south for the winter

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Lapwings and starlings

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Martins’ nests, either beloved or hated by householders, but very welcome at the WWT

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I believe the correct collective noun is a ‘murder’, but I prefer, here anyway, just a ‘row’ of crows (with a cow behind them)

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A chiffchaff, or a willow warbler? Or something else? Comments welcome please.

The reserve is on the edge of the Solway Firth, so that’s the Lake District in the distance.

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It is bounded by farmland on one side.

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Unlike the Lockerbie sheep, these were living.

I had been told that there was ‘nothing’ to be seen at the Sir Peter Scott hide, by which my informants must have meant nothing unusual.  I took pleasure nevertheless in sitting there after lunch watching swans, mallards and moorhens.  And learnt that when mallard is occupying a place where moorhen wants to be, it gives way, smartish.

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Then I decided to do the ‘summer’ walk, not available the rest of the year because of overwintering fowl.  It was delightful,

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especially as for at least five minutes two blackbirds insisted on showing me the way as I strolled along.

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The swans I’d seen earlier also seemed to want to keep an eye on me.

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I enjoyed looking not only at wildfowl but plants as well.

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I was nowhere near a hide when it started raining again, so my new umbrella came in useful. By the time I got back to my car it had stopped, but I heard the castle calling.

There turned out to be a wedding going on there, but visiting was not restricted. Glaring guests just didn’t appreciate how discreet one was trying to be. (One was not dressed suitably.)

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In one tower, there were some young swallows practising their flight in anticipation of their long journey to come. As long as I kept still, my presence didn’t seem to worry them.

Accompanying the wedding was a bagpiper.

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Hers was not the only kilt around, but I didn’t dare point my camera at the others, much as I’d love to have done.

The next day, it was time to go home to the cats, by train from Carlisle.  Somehow my camera forgot it was no longer on holiday, until we had left Cumbria anyway.

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So ended my trip up north.  My next big trip is in September, wildlife in the Pantanal, Brazil, largely by river boat, but perhaps I’ll find a pretext for posting photos again before then…