Thursday, 13 November 2014


Along with big numbers of Redwing, Fieldfare and a sprinkling of Brambling, we have been enjoying some wonderful views of Hen Harriers hunting over the moor, including this un-ringed juvenile female harrier.

Juvenile female Hen Harrier

 There has not been much change for the sat tagged Langholm Harriers - Grainne and Hattie are remaining within the confines of the moor and Annie is pretty settled in her patch west of Moffat.

We've not been able to share much information about Miranda because her tag last transmitted in July.This could be something as simple as a dirtied or obscured solar panel or if short term, the great British weather!!. Ground signals coupled with sightings suggest that she is alive and well in County Antrim.  Only a handful other birds were known to be alive after the last known transmission out of 47 birds tracked in England, Scotland and the Isle of Man between 2007 and 2014.


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Busy Autumn

Local volunteers have been busy this autumn half term building a community bird hide which, when finished, will be erected at the 'Making the Most of Moorlands’ bird feeding station on the southern edge of the moor. We first created the bird feeding station with the help of the Langholm Explorer Scouts in 2009 – with the idea of developing a site where locals and visitors could get closer to the local bird life especially during the winter months. It is already a great site for watching species such as Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Brambling, Crossbill, Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Over the last 5 years we have added to the site developing new types of bird feeder and a willow screen for visitors to use and a bug hotel.
The Moorland Bird feeding station is a great resource for our educational and community activities.

Pupils at Langholm Academy have helped to build different types of feeder, including this covered bird table ( photo JohnWright)

Brambling can be seen in good numbers during the winter (Photo John Wright)

A handsome bird but not our target audience perhaps..? (Photo Tom Hutton)
Our goal for some time has been to build a bird hide, where visitors can watch the birds out of the wind and rain and without causing disturbance to the feeding birds.

We were really keen to give local young people the opportunity to be involved right through the process from beginning to end, and give them the opportunity to learn some real wood working skills from experienced professionals. So far the from milling the logs, to preparing the wood and built the main part of the frame. The young people are working towards a John Muir Award as part of their work on the hide.

The beginnings of our hide (larch donated by Buccleuch Estates)

The sawmill at work

Adam Hogg learning how to use the sawmill

It has been a long process researching, designing and sourcing materials and funding for the bird hide but it is satisfying to see the hide coming together and it will be a really useful resource when completed. We'd like to thank to Buccleuch Estates for all their help with the planning process and the kind donation of larch and NGO Educational Trust for funding to complete this project.

So much volunteer time has gone into this project, the young people we are working with have given up their weekends and school holidays to put in long hours and hard work.
Ralph Phillips making the frame for the cladding

Alasdair teaching Amy how to use some of the workshop machinery

Daniel Lacey, local cabinet maker, has gone above and beyond, he has put so much time and effort in to this project, giving us the benefit of his knowledge and skills, allowing us to use his workshop and equipment -we can’t thank him enough!

There is still more work to do and with our volunteers returning to school and work  it will be a little longer before we can complete the next phase of the construction.
not bad progress for a few days in the workshop..