Category Archives: Bird Watching

Birdwatching Blogs

Digiscoping Birds at the Local Pond

The weather was lovely and sunny today in contrast to the pouring rain which has been present since the beginning of December.

I was up and out early with my sunglasses on to catch some photographs of the birds in my local pond. Approaching the pond, the birds were all swimming about near the water’s edge, but as soon as they heard me approach they moved to the centre of the pond.

Bird pond

The photo above gives an indication of how lovely a day it was.

Setting up my tripod and scope I realised I had forgotten the attachment for my SLR camera so I had to use the camera on my mobile phone, which is very good.

Canada Geese

Canada Geese

The Canada geese above were all sitting together on the banking but soon moved off into the pond when they heard me approaching.  

On the small island on the pond a few Canada geese were also resting. There was a slight commotion and I noticed there were two Cormorant in the area acting in an aggressive manner to what looked like an injured Canada goose lying in the grass on the island.

Aggressive Cormorant

Cormorant

The two of them soon calmed down!

The Cormorant on the right is a juvenile bird as can be see by the large white breast and brown colour. This turns darker with age.

Cormorant

Gadwall and Whooper Swans

In the pond were Gadwall – there are beautiful birds but always hard to photograph as they stay in the middle of the pond. I will try and get a photograph of them next time.

Whooper Swans

On the opposite bank were a group of Whooper swans. These are winter visitors and will soon be leaving to go back to Iceland for breeding. They can be identified by their yellow beaks.

Diving Ducks

There are a number of diving ducks in the pond including Tufted ducks, Goldeneye and Widgeon. Goldeneye male birds have black heads, while female and juvenile birds have brown heads. All have a white spot in front of the eye. 

Goldeneye
Tufted Ducks

It was a lovely way to spend the morning before a game of golf in the afternoon. On my way back home to change and get my golf clubs, I saw a Bumble Bee flying about. Very unusual to see one so early in the year.

Coming home from the golf it was just getting dark at 17.30. The dark days of winter are leaving us and the light summer days are almost here.

Can’t wait for summer.

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Filed under Bird Watching, General, Scotland, strathclyde, Wildlife

After the Rain – Signs of Spring

After the heavy rain and floods in December, the weather has been much drier and very mild for this time of the year.

I took a reading with my digital thermometer at 15.35 and the temperature was 46.4F or 8C. This is very mild and it was so warm that I could get away with wearing a thin jacket with 40grams Primaloft insulation. Normally I would not wear this until late March to late September. I did not need to wear gloves or a hat. 

Temperature at 46.4F

I only understand Fahrenheit temperatures and not Centigrade ones, except that freezing point is 32F. If I have to convert temperatures from Centigrade to Fahrenheit and vice versa in my head, I use the methods below: 

Fahrenheit to Celsius – subtract thirty, then halve

Celsius to Fahrenheit – double, then add thirty 

This gives a fairly accurate result. 

Water Levels 

Around the Christmas period the water on the ponds in South Lanarkshire had flowed over onto adjacent land. Normally this land is not covered by water unless there has been a sustained period of heavy rain.  

Wet ground after flood water has receded

In the photograph above, the floodwater had covered most of the ground up to the tree in the right foreground. It had receded and was ground was back to its usual state.

Flood water has receded

Signs of Spring 

Hazel tree catkins

A Hazel tree caught our eye as we were walking from the bird pond above. The male catkins were well developed and had the creamy/yellow colour which they have in the Spring. The mild weather probably caused them to be so advanced for late January.   

Hazel tree

 Fungi 

Most fungi is seen in the Autumn, but there are still some types of fungi visible throughout the year.
 
Trametes ochracea

 

Trametes ochracea

Trametes ochracea fungi grows on standing and fallen dead wood of deciduous trees, in particular beeches and oaks. They look nice and colourful.

Spring is almost here

If the weather continues to be so mild, the Snowdrops will soon be visible and then the Daffodils and Tulips will follow.

It is also getting lighter at night and in the mornings and my daily commute to Glasgow and back will soon be in daylight, rather than in darkness.

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Filed under Bird Watching, General, General, Lanarkshire, Scotland, strathclyde, Wildlife

Flood Damage at Baron’s Haugh, Motherwell

The RSPB nature reserve at Baron’s Haugh in Motherwell rarely escapes any flood damage due to its proximity to the River Clyde. Today we went on a walk through the reserve to assess the extent of the damage.

Causeway Hide

The Causeway hide was flooded with waist-deep water.

Causeway Hide

Phoenix Hide

Being higher up, the Phoenix hide usually escapes being flooded but the adjacent River Clyde had burst its banks and damaged the steps to the hide.

Phoenix Hide

The damage does not seem too bad until the steps are climbed and the damage to the top step is revealed.

Damage to top step of the Phoenix Hide

Footpath Damage

Centenery Hide

This showed the remains of debris left when it had been flooded, but the water had receded. The steps to the hide had been badly damaged a few years ago and were repaired to such a high standard that they were relatively undamaged.

Steps to the Centenery hide
Dirt left by floodwater in the Centenary hide
Centenery Hide

Carbarns
On the way to Carbarns, the field was flooded. 

Field at Carbarns flooded
Carbarns flooding

Carbarns usually has a large flooded area which remains in the summer which can be seen in the top of the photograph above. Theflooding in the foreground only occurs during the winter.
Other Damage

Damaged noticeboard

The path at the Chestnut Walk was blocked by trees which had fallen in the severe gales. The extent of the flooding can be seen by the debris left on one of the trees.

There is much work to be done at the reserve to clear up the damage.

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Filed under Baron's Haugh, Bird Watching, General, Lanarkshire, Scotland, strathclyde, Wildlife