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17 September 2014
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Freshwater - River Tweed


Salmon leap c/o PA Images

One of Britain's most famous salmon spots lies close to the border between England and Scotland - the River Tweed.

One the best places to see this phenomena is at Ettrick Weir during the autumn.

Salmon leap on the Tweed -
Photo - PA Images


The Tweed is 98 miles long - but you don't have to go too far upstream to get a look at the Atlantic Salmon.

The river and its tributaries in and around Berwick Upon Tweed are great places to catch these fish.

Salmon adventure

WeirBerwick Upon Tweed is the last English town before Scotland - it's also the starting point for a journey along one of the world's great salmon rivers.

Thousands of salmon make the journey up the Tweed every year as they return to breed in the river in which they were born.

Start your journey at the mouth of the Tweed - and follow the salmon route some 50 miles inland to one of its tributaries - the Ettrick near Selkirk.

This is where you'll find a salmon spectacle that's an absolute must-see in autumn.

Ettrick is where the fish head in from the North Sea after migrating here from Iceland and Greenland.

The Tweed Foundation monitors the health of the salmon population to get a real feel for how well these fish are doing.

Looking and leaping!

Salmon leaping c/o PA ImagesMany visitors come not to catch the salmon but to be thrilled by seeing them leap.

One the best places to see this phenomena is on the River Ettrick.

At this point on the river the Tweed Foundation has set up a viewing area where you can see the fish as you've never seen them before with the help of live feeds from five cameras in the pools below.

During the autumn the salmon's body changes - some call it "taking on the tartan" - its jaw gets bigger, and its body turns redder.

But the real spectacle is seeing the salmon attempt to climb the weir - as they leap and fly through the air!

Bird life

Mute Swan c/o RSPB Images and Chris GomersallThere's also a top quality collection of migrating birds on the Tweed.

The Tweed estuary is a hot spot for Mute Swans in early autumn.

This is the UK's second largest Mute Swan colony, and at peak times there are 800 birds before they disperse for the winter.

A much rarer sight is a Red throated Diver, and even in October it's possible to see adult birds showing its distinctive red throat.

The red throat is its breeding colour - and that crimson marking is a real give-away that distinguishes it from the other members of the diver family.

Red throated Divers like to congregate close to the coast in autumn and winter when they moult before they take off up north again in the spring.

Also look out for Grey Wagtails and Heron - both of which can be seen near Ettrick Weir.

The Heron is on the look out for fish that don't make it - while the Grey Wagtail is a characteristic bird of fast flowing water which feeds on insects.

Photo credits

Salmon photos are copyright and courtesy of PA Images.

Mute Swan copyright of RSPB Images and Chris Gomersall.

 

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