Falls of Clyde Recent Sightings 23rd-29th June


If you were to ask folk the question, “do you know what a kingfisher looks like?” then I’d expect most would reply, “yes”. If you were then to add an additional question, “have you ever seen a wild kingfisher?” then the more common answer would most likely be, “no”.  It’s not surprising giving how well a strikingly coloured bird can hide away in bank side vegetation. However this week I was very lucky to have not one but two sightings of kingfisher on the reserve. The first admittedly was the typical lightening blue flash and piping call as a bird flew downstream from the Dyeworks. The second bird, at Bonnington Weir, showed rather well in evening sunshine whilst perched up in a willow.


Kingfisher was spotted at New Lanark and Bonnington Weir this week (C) Jon Hawkins

A badger watch on the 25th provided the group with views of a badger, browsing roe deer, tawny owl and lots of soprano pipistrelle bats.

Moth trapping produced a few goodies in the form of map-winged swift, common lutestring, sandy carpet, pale prominent and Eulia ministrana.

Other interesting sightings included, mallard with three newly hatched young (Visitor Centre, 25th), 2x grey heron (Visitor Centre, daily), 2x common buzzard (Bonnington Pavilion, daily), peregrine falcon (Peregrine Watchpoint, occasional), 2x dipper (1 adult and 1 recently fledged juvenile, Visitor Centre, 28th), garden warbler (singing, Clyde Walkway near way leave, daily), jay (Corehouse Trail, 27th) and yellowhammer (Bonnington Pavilion, daily).

Adam Jones – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Seasonal Ranger

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Green Birding


Have you ever heard of green birding? The idea is that you go for a stroll or bike ride from your home and enjoy watching birdlife in your local area without the use of a vehicle. I recently spent a day green birding in the Lanark area and had a great time. Okay, I may be fortunate to have the Falls of Clyde reserve on my doorstep, however my route extended into the surrounding countryside, producing some amazing and surprising wildlife encounters.

As I approached the River Clyde a flock of moulting mallard snoozed on the water, whilst a common whitethroat belted out its scratchy song from nearby scrub. Walking through a field white with the blooms of pignut I encountered my first ever chimney sweeper, a day flying moth whose caterpillars like to munch on… yes that’s right, pignut. Ascending one of the many hills I was greeted with superb views of Lanark to the north and Tinto to the south, meanwhile skylark and meadow pipit song filled the air. Upon reaching an old stone wall I spotted the best and most unexpected bird of the day, a female wheatear. Raising my bins to eyelevel I then noted that the bird had a bill full of insects. A few seconds later she flew along the wall to feed a recently fledged chick, confirmation of a good breeding record.

Chimney Sweeper (C) Adam Jones

Chimney sweeper moth on its larval food plant, pignut (C) Adam Jones

Hopefully I may have inspired some of you to go and have your own green birding experience. Of course you don’t have to stick to birds, as you can see my walk produced a variety of wildlife in a stunning landscape. I’ll finish with a top tip which is to study your local OS map and incorporate a range of habitats into your outing.

Adam Jones – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Seasonal Ranger

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Falls of Clyde Recent Sightings 16th-22nd June


The highlight for me this week was watching a couple of common bird species in a picturesque setting. House martin and sand martin were the two species and Bonnington Linn provided the backdrop.  The birds were busy hawking insects in the gorge however what amazed me was the small amount of effort they had to put into flight, skilfully gliding around using the updraft produced from the river below to stay aloft.

Young birds continued to pile out of nests with noisy starling offspring joining adults in the fields looking for leatherjackets, great spotted woodpecker chicks with their red heads, ‘yakking’ along the Clyde Walkway and the first great and blue tit fledglings observed on the woodland trails.

Night time temperatures remained high enough for moth trapping to be rewarding with scorched wing, peach blossom and poplar hawkmoth of note. Meanwhile green-veined white butterflies were seen flying around when the sun ventured out from behind the cloud.

Poplar Hawkmoth (C) Adam Jones

We had our first hawkmoth of the trapping season, this species always poplar with lepidopterists.

New blooms this week included common spotted orchid (Clyde Walkway near Bonnington Powerstation), eyebright (Bonnington Pavilion) and ragged robin (Bonnington Pavilion).

Other interesting sightings included, 2x mute swan (upstream of Bonnington Weir, 19th), 10+ mallard (upstream of Bonnington Weir, 19th), peregrine falcon (Peregrine Watchpoint, female, regular), garden warbler (singing on Clyde Walkway, near Corra Linn, regular), raven (Bonnington Pavilion, regular flyover) and yellowhammer (upstream of Bonnington Weir, daily).

Adam Jones – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Seasonal Ranger

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Volunteering and FREE training opportunities in the Clyde and Avon Valley

Recently, Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI) and the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) were awarded £45,000 for environmental volunteering projects throughout the Clyde and Avon Valley. They are going to deliver a whopping 168 volunteering sessions on a wide range of environmental and conservation projects such as path maintenance here on the Falls of Clyde Reserve.

Early Purple Orchid (c) Laura Preston

Early Purple Orchid (c) Laura Preston

Many of the free sessions are open to local communities and will take place on sites owned or managed by CAVLP partners including Falls of Clyde, New Lanark, South Lanarkshire Council, North Lanarkshire Council, RSPB – Baron’s Haugh and SNH – Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserves.

They are looking for volunteers to help them carry out the works and in return there will be opportunities to undertake formal training certificates in disciplines from chainsaw skills to pesticide applications. If you know of anyone who is looking to get into conservation as a career or is just interested in doing some practical conservation volunteering then I urge you to get in touch with CCI. Please email dawn@cciweb.org.uk or call 01555 664 211 for further information.

Practical conservation work is vital in helping improve the quality of habitat for plants and animals to thrive. You may remember a few weeks ago the Rangers were carrying out a rare wildflower survey. We have a list from many years ago and we are going back out to see how they are doing. We have recently been lucky enough to find a patch of Early Purple Orchids flowering on the reserve (pictured). Also, regular visitors to the Falls of Clyde may have noticed that areas we have opened up through conifer thinning are now flowering with Bluebells and Red Campion. These flowers have lain dormant just waiting for the sun to shine upon them once more!

Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger

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Falls of Clyde Recent Sightings 9th-15th June


At the risk of sounding like the uncle or aunt you only ever meet at weddings, “Falls of Clyde you’ve grown a lot since I last saw you”. Vegetation has shot up with the warmer weather and the woodland canopy has now closed over for the summer. Young passerines have also grown quickly with a constant supply of caterpillars from their parents. Recently fledged great spotted woodpecker, blackbird, great tit, coal tit and long-tailed tit were seen on many of our trails. A rookery near the Bonnington Entrance has also fallen silent as this year’s chicks spread into the surrounding countryside.

LTT (C) Shirley Freeman

Look out for little ‘humbug’ long-tailed tit chicks on our woodland trails (C) Shirley Freeman.

A Badger Watch on the 11th produced views of four badgers, including one cub, foraging around the sett with a male blackcap providing the evening’s background music.

Interesting flowering plants included, common star-of-Bethlehem (Bonnington Entrance, 11th), bog stitchwort (Bonnington Trail, 14th) and common bistort (Corra Castle).

Night time temperatures reached the magic minimum of 10 degrees for moth trapping, resulting in larger catches which included, nut tree tussock, least black arches, bright-line brown-eye, white ermine and small phoenix.

Other interesting sightings included, 1x roe deer (Woodland Trail, occasional), 1x grey heron (Visitor Centre, daily), 2x common buzzard (Bonnington Weir, daily), peregrine falcon (pair, Peregrine Watch site, occasional), 1x cuckoo (heard singing from Haha, 15th), 4x grey wagtail (Bonnington Weir, 11th), 1x common whitethroat (Bonnington Entrance, daily), 6x raven (2 adults and 4 juvenile, Woodland Trail, 11th), 1x yellowhammer (Haha, 13th) and common toad (croaking along the River Clyde, daily).

Adam Jones – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Seasonal Ranger

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