‘It’s all go’ here on the reserve!

What an exciting week we have had! Our Peregrine Watch Site opened on Saturday with our launch event. It was really nice to meet all our new volunteers and show them the birds. Since then they have been nest scraping and mating which is a really good sign that they are looking to ‘start a family’ this year. I am currently sitting in our peregrine shed at the watch site and there are hailstones outside. It is freezing! I just hope this cold weather is not detrimental to the birds breeding successfully.

Lesser Celandine (c) Derbyshire Philip Precey

Lesser Celandine (c) Philip Precey

The past few days have been really warm and sunny so other wildflowers have been making an appearance including lesser celandine and golden saxifrage. Golden saxifrage is an ancient woodland indicator species. There is a list of these indicator species and if you have a certain number of them in an area then you can definitively say that it used to be ancient woodland. The seed bank should still be in the soil so if you have a site like ours that is very conifer dense, once you chop them down and favour native broadleaved trees those wildflowers will begin to reappear!

We have also been lucky enough to see the otter again outside the visitor centre and the kingfisher was recently spotted along the boardwalk. If you have a nest box in your garden, I am sure like me you will have been seeing birds scouting it out. I was delighted to see a very eager blue tit looking closely at one of our nest boxes on the reserve. I am going to go back in a week or two and see if he has taken up residence!

Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger
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Intern Diary Week 3 – And so it begins

After all the training, I finally started my official post at the Peregrine Watch this week. With a sunny weekend we had a great turnover at the watch site and got to show the birds to a lot of wonderful people.

Despite their elusiveness on Saturday, the peregrines treated us with very exciting behaviours like courtship, food offers and nest scraping. This left us hopeful that the birds would start breeding soon. Our hopes were confirmed on Monday when they were seen mating! Fingers crossed we will have some fertile eggs soon.

Peregrine (falcon) (c) Cara Mitchell

Peregrine (falcon) (c) Cara Mitchell

We also had the opportunity to go to the Scottish Wildlife Trust headquarters on Monday where we got to know the team and the Trust’s work a bit better. Also got some first-hand reports of what is going on the other reserves like Montrose Bay, Loch of the Lowes, Handa Island or Jupiter as all the other seasonal staff was there as well. It was really interesting meeting everyone and know how things run in the other reserves

Finally, yesterday I got to meet my mentor – Dr. Rob Bray. As an intern, the SWT has assigned me a mentor to give me support and advice on my placement, as well as some guidance for my career and future plans. We had a lovely morning at the peregrines and a very helpful chat on the way back to the visitor centre.

If you have any questions about being an intern the SWT or if there is anything you would like to know about peregrines leave a comment or a message on Facebook and I’ll cover it on my next post :)

Cat Fonseca – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Peregrine Ranger Intern
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Intern Diary Week 2 – Final preparations!

The week before last was my final week of training. I’m quite happy about it because it means I’ll start spending more time with the peregrines, on the other hand training has been really fun and educational so I’m sad it’s ending.

Falcon (female) eating prey (c) Laura Preston

Falcon (female) eating prey (c) Laura Preston

We had membership recruitment training where we had a chance to learn more about some of the work the Scottish Wildlife Trust is developing in more detail – from the Coigach-Assynt Living Landscape to the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels conservation project – and the vital role member’s play for these projects to keep rolling.

We also went for a long walk around the reserve to make sure all the features and paths are in tip-top condition. It was really great having the opportunity to explore a bit more of the reserve and (again) be amazed by its beauty!

Last (but definitely not least!) I had my on-site peregrine watch induction. I am so excited to be working here three days a week in the spectacular surroundings of the Falls of Clyde wildlife reserve. It really is the closest view of peregrines in the UK!

Cat Fonseca – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Peregrine Ranger Intern
Help support our vital work and join us today!

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Easter Duck Race

Help raise money for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde. Buy a duck (£2 each) at our duck race and have the chance to win a place on a badger watch for you and your family. We race the ducks down the Mill Lade in the village as part of the New Lanark Easter celebrations. The race begins at 3pm and racing ducks are sold from midday onwards next to the Mill Lade. For more information call 01555 665 262.

Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger
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Interesting facts about Butterbur!

Spring is not readily springing upon us this year. I would have expected to have seen more wildflowers around by this point but the cold weather has so far kept most of them at bay. A couple of wildflowers that I have seen are primrose, colts foot and butterbur. Butterbur is a very distinctive wildflower that is found in wet areas. On the reserve there is a patch opposite the boardwalk and a large patch just before the power station on the left hand side.

Butterbur (c) Vernon Hyde

Butterbur (c) Vernon Hyde

A few interesting facts about butterbur: The leaves of were once used to wrap butter, the flowers appear before the leaves, the plant was used as a natural dye for Harris Tweed, and it is used as a natural remedy for migraines. Butterbur emerges as pink flower stalks in February and are similar in appearance to button mushrooms (they were also known as ‘early mushrooms’). Male and female flowers are found on separate plants (male flower spikes are shorter).

This Saturday we are opening our Peregrine Watch with a launch event. This free event is open to everyone and starts at 10am in the Falls of Clyde Visitor Centre. We will begin by introducing everyone to our new seasonal staff, followed by a talk about the history of our birds and then a guided walk by me, following our peregrine trail up to the Watch Site. At this point we should hopefully be able to see our birds!

I saw our peregrines yesterday at the Watch Site, it seems as if the tiercel had caught a prey item and had offered it to the falcon. This is typical pair bonding behavior for peregrine falcons. In the next few weeks we should begin to see them nest scraping and deciding upon a nest.

Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger
Help support our vital work and join us today!

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