Monday, 25 May 2009

Yetholm Loch

I've been across the Scottish border today with my friend Harold, to visit Yetholm Loch. It's a beautiful and utterly peaceful place, lying in a small crescent-shaped valley on the northern edge of the Cheviot Hills.

After leaving the Rede valley and crossing the border at Carter Bar, we took the quiet road north, following the Kale Water through the hills to Hownam and Town Yetholm (not far from Kirk Yetholm, at the northern end of the Pennine Way).

Yetholm Loch is described in Birdwatching in the Scottish Borders as an "open body of water with associated swamp, fen and carr woodland habitats". The site is managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The loch is approached along stretches of board walk through dense woodland and a grassy field-side path which brings you at last to a hide offering wide views across the water and the surrounding hills.

Looking across the western side of the loch from the hide

Willow Warbler and Chiffchaffs were singing in the woodland and in the willow carr and we watched Reed Bunting and Sedge Warbler in the reed mace at the edge of an adjoining lochan. From the hide, we had good views of an over-flying heron, a distant buzzard and Mute Swans, Greylag Geese, Mallard and a pair of Gadwall on the water. At one point, when a disturbance in the reeds near the hide set up a small flight of Mallard, we half-expected to see the resident otter emerge after them. Sadly, it didn't.

I had no luck photographing the Sedge Warblers today but Harold has kindly offered one of his lovely pictures:

Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)

Naturally, the Mute Swans were as photogenic as ever:

Mute Swan (Cigus olor)

Mute Swan (Cigus olor)

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