A clear vision for this hiding place

The 'hen poo' (Heron Pool) on Duns Castle Estate
The 'hen poo' (Heron Pool) on Duns Castle Estate

On a bonny bright sunny morning in early September, four volunteers from the Scottish Wildlife Trust (Berwickshire members’ group) committee turned up ready and keen to assist in the lopping of branches on the north side of the ‘Hen Poo’ (Heron Pool) on Duns Castle estate.

The bird-hide project was conceived by Lt Col. G. H. Hay, father of the estate’s current owner, and Alex Cowieson, and erected in their memory in 1976 for the use of the public to watch birds on the lake.

But over the years branches from the surrounding trees have steadily continued to restrict vision from the hide.

So, with the assistance of the newly-repaired punt and the use of an extendable chainsaw, the work tentatively began. Wearing lifejackets and protective helmets, then securing a rope to a sturdy tree and through rings on the punt for steadiness, the volunteers eventually began trimming the branches.

With the use of paddles and careful manoeuvring of ropes by folks on the side of the lake, this was excellent team work, although with caution as the water is quite deep, even at the edges. With the aid of these secured ropes being held in place, the working team managed to cut away a many branches. More manpower was required to clear the fallen debris from the water. A welcome break for bacon rolls helped the morale half-way through the exercise.

The achievement of an excellent four hours’ work produced a vast improvement with now-clear vision over the lake for anyone wishing to visit the hide to watch birds on Duns Castle nature reserve.

Many thanks to all who attended and assisted on this worthwhile work party.

z Our first public Scottish Wildlife Trust meeting for the season in Duns Parish Church Hall will take place tonight (Thursday) at 7.30pm, door open from 7pm.

Our speaker is the weel-kent face of Beech Grove Garden, George Anderson, who will be giving a presentation and slide show on his travels in Chile.

Entrance fee is £1.50, with refreshments and raffle at the end. Non-members are welcome.