Site of the Month: The Nith Estuary (December 2023)

This Nith Estuary is one of the most significant sites in the region for wintering waders and waterfowl. The Solway is famously home to the entire wintering population of Svalbard Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsisand has significant numbers of Pintail Anas acutaShelduck Tadorna tadorna and Scaup Aythya marila. The mudflats are an important habitat for waders and waterbirds, and provides one of the best opportunities to see the once-rare Little Egret Egretta garzetta locally.

The brackish water is an important spawning and nursery habitat for Plaice Pleuronectes platessa and as a migration route for the jawless and parasitic Sea Lamprey Petromyzon marinus, a species that has remained largely unchanged from its early ancestors dating 300 million years ago. The sediment is an important habitat for a range of shellfish including Cockle Cerastoderma edule and Common Razor Shell Ensis magnus

The coastal merse at the mouth of the estuary is home to the northern most population of Natterjack Toad Epidalea calamita in the UK and is also home to the second known British site for the primeval Tadpole Shrimp Triops cancriformisa species which is specialised to ephemeral pools (those that are temporary) an adaptation to drought and seasonality.

Peter Norman

SWSEIC Project Officer

Website by Red Paint

SUP is registered in Scotland as a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. Registered address: The Southern Uplands Partnership, Studio 2, Lindean Mill, Galashiels, TD1 3PE. Company No. SC200827 / Charity No. SCO29475

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