The Big Butterfly Count

Did you know that since 2010 Butterfly Conservation have carried out a nationwide survey called the Big Butterfly Count? It is now the world’s biggest survey of butterflies and last year over 560,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths were recorded across the UK! Why count butterflies? Well, they react really quickly to changes in the environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators. Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses which is why this survey is really important. But don’t just take my word for it, this is what David Attenborough (Butterfly Conservation President) has to say about it, “The Big Butterfly Count is about more than just counting butterflies – we’ll be taking the pulse of nature”.

Red Admiral (c) Amy Lewis

Red Admiral (c) Amy Lewis

It is really easy to take part in the Big Butterfly Count. All you need to do is count butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather. The count runs from now until the 9th August so you have plenty of time. You can do the survey anywhere from parks and gardens, to fields and forests. You can also submit separate records for different dates at the same place, and for different places that you visit – which means you can do the survey more than once! Sightings can be recorded online at www.bigbutterflycount.org or you can download the FREE app onto your phone. Butterfly Conservation also provide a FREE butterfly ID guide specifically for Scotland on their website that you can print off.

If you are looking for somewhere to do your survey you could come and visit us here at the Falls of Clyde or do a web search for ‘Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves’ for other places to visit. And remember, we are running children’s butterfly net workshops over the next 3 Sundays. Phone us for more information – 01555 665 262.

Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger
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Falls of Clyde Recent Sightings 21st-27th July

Hi,

We have reached a time of year when many bird species are foraging in family groups for example the common whitethroats and goosanders I spotted at Bonnington Weir. However mixed flocks are also starting to form in which families of a number of species gather in one big group. It was this sort of behaviour which led to my highlight of the week when a feeding frenzy of one hundred swallow, house martin, sand martin and swift could be seen at close quarters along the Woodland Trail, you could even hear their bills snap as they gobbled up a helpless midge!

Along the Clyde a nice selection of birds included, kingfisher (boardwalk, daily), common sandpiper (Bonnington Weir, 22nd), 2 mute swan (Bonnington Weir, regular) and dipper (Visitor Centre, regular).

Green Sawfly (C) Adam Jones

This Green sawfly Rhogogaster viridis was spotted near the Peregrine Watch, the species is common however the vivid green colour certainly made it stand out.

A Badger Watch on the 23rd produced great views of five badger, a common buzzard, fragrant honeysuckle and soprano pipistrelle bats.

Other interesting sightings included, spotted flycatcher (Woodland Trail, 24th), tree sparrow (New Lanark), crossbill (Corehouse Trail and Walled Garden, occasional), roe deer (Bonnington Pavilion, occasional), ringlet and meadow brown butterfly (Bonnington Pavilion, daily).

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

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Intern Diary : Catching my breath

Finally! After a busy few weeks I’m finally getting the chance to introduce myself and let you know what I’ve been up to. I’m Sam and I am the new Assistant Ranger Intern here at Falls of Clyde. You may recognise me from previous productions such as the Peregrine Watch, where alongside Cat I was a Peregrine Ranger.

Since starting at the beginning of July we have hit the ground running with a whole load of maintenance tasks including replacing the railings at the Corra Linn steps and strimming the paths across the site. I’ve been spending a bit of time out and about with Andy getting to know the reserve a bit better, especially on the Corehouse side where I hadn’t spent much time before. It really is a beautiful place!

I’ve also been lucky enough to get my Brushcutter licence as a result of the generosity of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Thank you guys! I am going to be adding to this with some training in chainsaw use and herbicide work in the coming weeks with the Clyde Community Initiative, who you should definitely look up if you haven’t heard of them before. More information about them can be found here www.cciweb.org.uk

We are also looking in to Fixed Point Photography across the reserve, using historical records and potentially some new spots to start looking at the ways the reserve has changed and will change over the years. With some exciting conservation projects in the pipeline for the reserve this should be very exciting.

Well that’s about it from me for now, time to go dry off a little bit after a soggy but very enjoyable Butterfly Net Workshop this afternoon.

Speak very soon.

Cheers

Sam Langford – Assistant Ranger Intern

Sam Profile Photo

 

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Reserve update – badgers, butterflies and practical conservation

We have had a very busy time at the Falls of Clyde lately with path maintenance repairs happening along the blue path to our pond and also a few weeks ago the Seasonal Rangers replaced our hand railing on the steps up to Corra Linn. Due to the nature of the reserve and all its steep drops, we have lots of safety fencing dotted about the place and we are gradually replacing any old fencing and replacing it like-for-like. We also spend quite a bit of time strimming paths in the summer so visitors aren’t having to battle through nettles and through overgrowth to see the waterfalls. If you do see us out working on the reserve we’re always happy to chat and say hello!

Ringlet (c) Jim Higham

Ringlet (c) Jim Higham

The meadow is looking really great at the moment with all the wildflowers in full bloom including Common Spotted Orchid, Meadow Sweet and one of my favourites – Ragged Robin. This in turn attracts lots of butterflies and we’re seeing loads of Ringlets, which are rather inconspicuous, what with being small and brown, but nevertheless a treat to see!

I was the guide on two luxury badger safaris last week and on both occasions we were lucky to see badgers. On one evening we saw a group of five mutually grooming at the entrance to their sett. They also came and foraged in front of us looking for grubs and earthworms. They only managed to raise one badger cub this year and it is growing up fast. It is still at the cute and furry stage and there is an obvious difference in size between the cub and the adults. ‘Cub’ was quite wet when we saw it and it had mud all over its face!

Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger

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Falls of Clyde Recent Sightings 14th-20th July

Hi,

One of the highlights of a stroll through the woods at this time of year is the variety of aromas you can encounter, be it from pine needles on the woodland floor or fragrance from honeysuckle and elder blooms. Wild marjoram has aromatic leaves and is one of the rare plants that the ranger team successfully found on site as well as, slender st john’s-wort and wood melick in a new location.

Slender St Johns-wort (C) Adam Jones

Slender St John’s-wort with its red-tinged petals and leaves clasping around the stem (C) Adam Jones

A Luxury Badger Safari on 15th produced great views of five badgers grooming around the sett as well as frequent calling from peregrine falcon and common buzzard overhead. Grey squirrel activity in the form of bark stripping on birch trees is particularly evident at present.

Active butterfly species on Bonnington Pavilion included, ringlet, meadow brown and green-veined white. Moth trapping produced the first records for barred straw, true-lovers knot, snout and purple clay of the year.

Other interesting sightings included, common buzzard (Bonnington Pavilion, daily), stock dove (Bonnington Pavilion, daily), kingfisher (boardwalk, occasional), 3 dipper (Corra Linn, 20th), mistle thrush (Walled Garden, occasional), yellowhammer (Bonnington Pavilion, daily), common hawker (Dundaff Linn, 20th) and silver y moth (Bonnington Pavilion, 19th).

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

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