Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Glasgow Ecological Emergency Public Consultation Questionnaire

I've been off on holiday and then come down with man flu, so not much to report, BUT Glasgow City Council has decided to seek views in respect of the ecological aspects of the Climate and Ecological Emergency which they declared in May 2019. 
A working Group has drafted a report on Climate Change and now another working group has been formed to assess the ecological aspects of the emergency. The Group will focus on the following themes:
• Local Biodiversity Action Plan and the Glasgow Open Space Strategy
• Land Management
• State of Nature
To assist with the development of any recommendations, they want to hear your views about what they should do, how ambitious they should be, and what resources they can draw upon.
Please, please take the time to participate, show your concern and offer your views.

Friday, 31 January 2020

Dull and Dreich, Once Again

Not much to report over the past week - three visits to Dawsholm Park LNR and a visit to Bingham's Pond.

Dawsholm Park LNR provided some good bird sightings - Raven, Buzzard, Bullfinch, Ring-necked Parakeet, Stock Dove and a large flock of 50+ Siskin.

However, the main reason for going to Dawsholm on three occasions was to assist with a Friends of Glasgow's LNRs event - the cleaning out and erection of nest boxes and a litter pick. My input involved:
  • undertaking a recce of the ground conditions, nest box locations and litter hotspots; 
  • helping with nest box cleaning; 
  • producing a photographic record; and 
  • checking how everything looked the day after the event - the bags had not been uplifted by the Council by early afternoon!
In the end, 16 boxes were cleaned-out and 2 were erected whilst 15 bags of litter were collected.

I would stress that I did do more than just take the photos!

Finally, today I made a 1 hour visit to Bingham's Pond with nothing unusual to report.

Meanwhile in Greater Glasgow, the Ring-necked Duck still appears to be happy at Mugdock Loch and flocks of Waxwings are being reported in Kelvinside and Cathcart - information courtesy of the SOC Clyde Grapevine.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Weather Improves - Dry and Dull

In the last few days the weather has improved albeit still, in the main, overcast.

On the 15th we joined the RSPB Glasgow Group outing to Drumpellier Country Park and Hogganfield Park LNR, thanks to Judith and Mike.

We started as ever with a coffee, this time in the renovated and extended visitor centre overlooking Lochend Loch …..

On leaving the visitor centre, whilst it was dry, it was a wee bit dull. We walked around Lochend Loch and then paid a quick visit to Woodend Loch. I found a ringed Mute Swan ...

.. and have since discovered, it was ringed at Hogganfield Loch by the Clyde Ringing Group on 01.01.16 (1475 days after ringing).

We left the Country Park and then headed for Hogganfield Park LNR when the weather deteriorated further limiting photo opportunities. However, I did find a few Stock Doves sitting in the trees on the island, only my second ever record for this species at the LNR. My first was also on a RSPB Outing! 

Despite the conditions I did take a photo record of the floating 'gull' platform which has dragged its anchor and now sits close to the loch edge.

It has been reported and I've been advised that it should hopefully be back in place over the next few weeks or so.

Despite the dull day I saw c40 different species. 

Since then I have been back at Hogganfield for the wildfowl feeding session organised by the Friends of Glasgow's LNRs on Sunday the 19th. 

In addition to the usual wildfowl we had distant views of a Kingfisher which was a welcome bonus.

This week (22nd) we visited Strathclyde Loch, again with Judith and Mike and we caught up with the Ring-billed Gull which has made a welcome return

We then headed for Logoch (south of East Kilbride) in the hope of locating a Great Grey Shrike that had been reported. Sadly, the weather beat us, as this photo illustrates

So over the past week or so I recorded 50 species and added to my year list which stands at a very modest 87 species. Wouldn't it be nice if the sun shone for a week or so?

Monday, 13 January 2020

Dull and Dismal, Wet and Windy - but still Birding!

Let's not mention the weather; all I will say is that the camera has been left at home during my recent birding.

Firstly, on the one decent day (Thursday), I was tied up with unpacking and numbering nest boxes for the Friends of Glasgow's LNRs ...

These will be getting erected at Dawsholm Park LNR (2), Hogganfield Park LNR (1), Dams to Darnley LNR (6) and Bingham's Pond SINC (1). More information can be had from Friends of Glasgow's LNRs

On Saturday, I joined other intrepid members of the RSPB Glasgow Group on a sponsored bird race. Yes, Saturday the wettest, windiest day of the year so far!

Despite that, we had fun raising money for the RSPB and in our team's case (thanks Karen and Neil) we managed 60 species between us with Black Grouse, Crossbill, Tree Sparrow, Greenshank and Nuthatch some of the more notable species.

On to Sunday when I walked to Bingham's Pond for a combined Black-headed Gull count and WEBs survey. The gull count started at 9am and at that time it was dark and raining, so I left the camera at home. Big mistake! By the time I had finished, at 11am, the sun was out and some good photos could have been had.

As an aside, the Black-headed Gulls peaked at 115, with the lowest count being only 24.

Finally, if you didn't know, the Ring-necked Duck is still at Mugdock Loch, Milngavie and large flocks of Waxwings are still being recorded in the east end of Glasgow. If you have never seen a Ring-necked Duck or Waxwing before, here is what they look like - note these images were not taken this year. 

Good luck!

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

2020 Vision

Hopefully, politicians throughout the world will listen to climate experts and do the right thing for their people and the planet.

Meanwhile, back in Greater Glasgow the weather has been mild albeit a touch dismal and wet. This has limited photo opportunities but we have still managed some birding with our friends.

After Christmas, I visited  the nearest LNR to our house - Dawsholm Park LNR in Glasgow - and it was a nice day! I managed good views of Ring-necked Parakeets and Nuthatch

… but the visit was spoiled by some horrendous litter and bags of dog poo - I won't post the photos!

On the 31st, we visited Balloch Country Park - great views of Mandarin Ducks - and the Clyde foreshore at Dumbarton Castle, with Judith and Mike. The difference in the weather over a few miles was incredible ....

River Leven at Balloch

Dumbarton Castle on the River Clyde

In the new year, we have managed to visit various locations (thanks to Stephen and Peter) which should help with a forthcoming RSPB Glasgow Group sponsored Bird Race! These have included: Fairlie Sands (Little Egret and Greenshank), Cardwell Bay (Little Gull and Mediterranean Gull), Mugdock Loch (Ring-necked Duck), Drymen (Crossbills) and 3 Black Grouse at a confidential location. 

Finally, yesterday I travelled by bus to the east end of Glasgow and caught up with a Waxwing flock of at least 200 birds. This photo, taken on my phone, doesn't do the spectacle justice ..

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year

Thanks to everyone that reads this Blog and supports the efforts of the many conservation groups and individuals that help safeguard and enhance biodiversity in the Greater Glasgow area. 

More specifically, a big thank you to all those that have joined, volunteered or helped fund the Friends of Glasgow's Local Nature Reserves, it is much appreciated.

If you are already bored with the repeats on TV, why not try my YouTube channel for images and videos of wildlife from far and wide click here

A few stills follow as a taster:

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Waxwings Galore

Over the past week, Waxwings have been reported from north, south and west Glasgow. 

I saw c35 in Govanhill Park on the 19th along with Redwings and Fieldfare

The Waxwings were 'new' for the year as was the Smew on the Barr Loch at RSPB Lochwinnoch on the 21st on our weekly outing with Stephen - 50 species seen.

We also travelled to Greenock and Gourock with Judith and Mike on the 18th and we managed 33 species before the rain arrived in dismal conditions!

During the rest of the week I managed a few visits to Bingham's Pond for general birding plus the Webs count/Black-headed Gull survey on Sunday 15th. The Sunday had everything with dark dismal conditions one minute followed by sunshine followed by rain - 2 photos taken c10 minutes apart give an idea of the changing conditions

Over the week I saw 64 species adding two to my 'Scottish year list' and one to my 'Bingham's Pond year list.' Any more to be found before the end of the year?