Diamond day out at lonely Fruid


After several days of incessant rain, the forecast of some blue sky at last, had me looking out the map for somewhere to go. After much deliberation, I thought a picnic by a quiet loch was what was needed and Fruid Reservoir seemed to fit the bill.

The highlight of the outward trip was undoubtedly the sight of two ospreys circling over the Yarrow Fishery, but a heavy shower as I drove past Megget Reservoir dampened my spirits somewhat.

However, after negotiating the many potholes up the single track road to Fruid, I arrived to glorious sunshine and I soon found a sheltered spot to park and get out the folding chair – sheer bliss!

Half way through the Sunday Post, a tremendous splash from the loch had me reaching for the binoculars. I was just in time to see a huge osprey launching itself from the water into the air, shaking the excess moisture from its feathers before flying off empty taloned – three ospreys in one day!

A walk along the road which skirts the loch was called for and I soon found lots to interest me. The flowers were spectacular, especially the spear thistles, knapweed, ragwort, catsear and harebells. I was particularly intrigued to find several colonies of pure white harebells, which I had never come across before. Several butterflies were out and I managed to identify Scotch Argus, Small Heath and Common Blue, but the breeze was a bit brisk to have much chance of photographing them.

The osprey was around for most of the afternoon and if that wasn’t enough, I also saw a family group of four buzzards, a kestrel, a wheatear, a pair of cormorants, a party of crossbills and a pair of ravens. The biggest surprise, however, was just around the corner.

I noticed a gull flying towards me skirting the edge of the loch and at first I wrote it off as a black-headed gull. As it got nearer, however, I saw to my astonishment, that it was a tern. I got a good look at it through my “bins”, but I see too little of them to be able to differentiate between an Arctic or Common. That was another first for me, never previously having seen one away from the coast. I presume that it was on migration and was just passing through, but it was the last thing I expected to encounter at lonely Fruid.

The only other human I encountered was a lone bird watcher who hailed from south of the border and he too had been watching the osprey. He had also been fortunate to see hen harrier and merlin in that area during his stay, so he was well pleased.

According to the John Denver song “Some days are diamond and some days are stones”. I can safely say that my day at Fruid certainly fell into the former category.