On the wild side column: Highlights of the year in spotlight at AGM

SWT members sowing seeds of yellow rattle in St Mary's Glade in Duns Castle Reserve last October.
SWT members sowing seeds of yellow rattle in St Mary's Glade in Duns Castle Reserve last October.

Members of (SWT) Berwickshire Wildlife Trust were treated to three illustrated talks after the recent 2016 AGM.

First up was Roger Manning with ‘Highlights of 2015’. Roger starts his surveys at dawn and the first was near Cockburnspath at Boshiel Farm on the edges of the Lammermuirs.

The first photos showed the gorse bushes and some arable land where he had found countless numbers of skylarks on the scrubland set aside by the farmer. At that early hour he saw three foxes leaving in different directions from a rabbit warren near Oldhamstocks.

He moved on to Coldstream filmed at different times of year. We saw the same scene near the Leet with frost, fog and finally under flood water. Last year acres of arable land were flooded. This was again seen at Sprouston where a fishing hut emphasised the depth of the water and the tons of debris and tree trunks that were washed up and snagged in fences and hedgerows.

Roger then moved to the Cheviots. Near the head of College Burn seeing Dog Violets and Primroses and an occasional Adder. The area is known for its feral goats which have roamed for hundreds of years, probably once domesticated before the time of the plague.

His last favourite place was Holy Island, photographed with the causeway covered with snow and ice. It was strange to see snow on the beach and dunes at the Snook north shore. Waders such as ringed plovers and a sanderling are typical of birds at Snipe Point. On the island there are as many as 14 species of orchid and many thousand over-wintering Brent geese on the island and nearby saltmarshes. He ended with a lovely photo of the Causeway at sunset.

Roger explainedthe landscape photos were his own but the close-ups of birds were courtesy of Laurie Campbell.

The presentations from David Long and Andrew Mossop will be described in a future article.

At the AGM, Ron McBeath agreed to continue to be chair at the 2016 AGM. Murray Henderson moved a vote of thanks to Ron for his work during the year and this was unanimously supported.

The rough grass in St Mary’s Glade was mown in the autumn and David Long, Murray, Roger Manning and Ron sowed a 200 square meter area of grass with yellow rattle seed as a preliminary to create a wildflower meadow. Murray had continued with his repair and care of nest boxes at Duns Castle Reserve. Volunteers had helped to clear trees and scrub along the disused railway line through Gordon Moss Reserve.

Robert Crosbie, the secretary, regularly updates our website.

For more information see Scottish Wildlife Trust or call Ron McBeath on 01289 308515.