Plenty to see on the Haining Estate

Leopardsbane flanks one of the many woodland paths in the Haining.
Leopardsbane flanks one of the many woodland paths in the Haining.

What an incredible spell of weather we’ve been having - glorious sunshine every day with no rain for a fortnight.

The two pairs of blue tits in my garden nest boxes have certainly timed it right this year. I have been watching their non-stop comings and goings as they feed their hungry broods and they are not having to go far to catch insects, such is their abundance.

I was doing a bit of maintenance on the pump on the solar fountain in my garden pond last week, when a small red elongated creature zoomed past my face.

I stopped work and sat back to see what it could have been and was delighted to see a small red damselfly cruising above the water. Although my pond is only in its third season and is only six feet long and three at its widest, it is full of tadpoles, has resident newts, the yellow flag iris is blooming for the first time since I planted it and now I have damselflies! It just shows the wildlife even a tiny pond can attract.

Before it got too warm on Sunday morning, I took off for a wander round Selkirk’s Haining Estate. The sun hadn’t broken through and it was flat calm, as I set off round the loch. Sound carried great distances on the still air and bird song was incredible. I could even hear the wheezing calls of young crows calling for food in their treetop nests.

The estate is, as you would expect, a mixture of native and introduced trees and plants with the native ramsons vying for prominence with the alien leopardsbane, under the trees. The trust who manage the estate are trying to return it to a more natural state and evidence of this can be seen where they have removed some of the invasive rhododendrons and privet, which was probably once a hedge but has now grown out of all proportion.

Out on the loch were a few tufted duck and a couple of female mallards with large broods in tow and I was lucky to spot one of the more interesting residents. A great-crested grebe was diving for food, as its mate no doubt sat quietly in the extensive reed bed incubating its eggs.

Selkirk is indeed fortunate to have such a wonderful place virtually in the middle of town, where you can go and enjoy the local wildlife without too much effort.