Category Archives: Baron’s Haugh

Baron’s Haugh

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

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.


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

Digiscoping Birds – Some Photographs

The weekend weather for the past few weeks has been cloudy and wet so there were not many opportunities for outdoor activities.

The rain on Saturday was very heavy but today it did become brighter around mid-day so I went to my local bird pond to catch up with the new feathered arrivals.

Many birds migrate from Scandinavia to the UK over the winter for the slightly longer days and milder weather.

I took my spotting scope and my SLR camera and tried to get some shots of the birds. Using a scope requires good light but I was hopeful the light was bright enough to get some decent photographs.

The first few photographs of the Robin were taken in my garden. Robins are great birds top photograph as they are not shy and are entertaining.

The other photographs were taken at my local bird pond. The water levels were quite high so there were no waders about as they prefer shallow waters. However, there were many Whooper Swans who had arrived for the winter from Scandinavia. Photographs of them can be seen below.

There were also a group of  Cormorants sitting on a platform on the water. One was stretching its wings so I took a few photographs of it. There were also some heron but they were quite far away. However, I did manage to get a photograph of one sitting high in a tree overlooking the River Clyde.

The photographs came out quite well. The main problem with digiscoping with an SLR camera is that the autofocus does not work on the camera so the focus has to be done manually. It is also useful to use a remote shutter control to minimize camera shake.

Hopefully, there will be sunnier days so that I can improve my digiscoping technique.


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

Photographs of Migrating Birds at Baron’s Haugh, Motherwell

The weather this weekend has been warm and sunny and this provided excellent conditions for viewing the birds on the large pond at Baron’s Haugh. The word “haugh” is the Scottish word for flooded meadow.

With Autumn getting underway many birds migrate from Scandinavia to the South of France and North Africa. The migrating birds stop off at various places on their journey southwards and Baron’s Haugh is a great place to spot some of these migrating birds.

Ruff, Green Sandpiper and Black-tailed Godwit 

This weekend did not disappoint – a Ruff, a number of Green Sandpiper and a pair of Black-tailed Godwit were seen on the Haugh and I managed to get some photographs of these birds through my scope. 

There were also Snipe, Lapwing, Mute and Whooper swans on the Haugh, along with the usual Ducks. 

Below are some photographs of these birds. Clicking on the images below will enlarge them.

A Ruff  can be seen at the back of the photograph

Ruff are migrant birds, passing through on their journey South.The ruff is a medium-sized wading bird with a long neck, a small head and a short bill. It occasionally breeds in eastern England, but is mainly a migrant bird in the UK.


The Ruff were a bit far away, so the above photographs are a bit blurry.

Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper are also migrant birds. It is also a wader with a dark back with pale underparts. 

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit

The Black-tailed Godwit are large wading birds. In summer, they have bright orangey-brown chests and bellies, but in winter they’re more greyish-brown. They have long beaks and legs, and the black and white stripes on their wings.


Resident Birds

Snipe are resident birds but this was the first time I had a good close-up view of them. Snipe are medium sized wading birds with short legs and long straight bills. Snipe breed in the UK and in winter the resident birds are joined by birds from northern Europe.


In Autumn, Baron’s Haugh also has a good variety of fungi. I managed to see some as I walked around the reserve.

Velvet Shank

The Velvet Shank can be eaten and can be added to stews and casseroles.

It had been a good weekend at Baron’s Haugh.

Further Information:

Baron’s Haugh is an RSPB reserve in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire. There are four hides for viewing the birds at different locations to observe the birds. The area is popular with birdwatchers because of the large variety of birds in the area.


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

Autumn at Baron’s Haugh, Motherwell

With Autumn fast approaching, I went to Baron’s Haugh on Sunday to look for passing birds on the pond. Many birds stop over at Baron’s Haugh on their migratory journey from Iceland to the Sahara Desert to avoid the cold northern winter. They return in the Spring. The weather was very warm and sunny, in contrast to the previous week, when it had been very cold for September.

To get to Baron’s Haugh I have to walk about 3.5 miles carrying a spotting scope, tripod, binoculars, bird book and some food and drink, so it also is a good form of exercise for me. 

I left my house at 09.30 and arrived back at the house at 19.00 having walked around the area and the adjoining Dalzell Estate. In all I walked 13 miles.

Below are some photographs from the day.

Some Cormorants, young Mute swans an some Mallards
Black-headed gulls
Two Curlew
Eroded path on way to Carbarns
High walls on road to East side of the Haugh

The photograph above shows high wall on the road down to the East side of the Haugh. This was build by the Hamilton family, who owned Dalzell House and its grounds, to prevent their view from the house being spoiled by seeing workers walking to and from the mine which was situated nearby.


Autumn is a great time of year for seeing many different things.  


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


During the summer months there is not much activity in the bird world but there are other things to observe in nature. 

Butterflies are quite numerous at this time of year so I went out with a friend in search of some unusual varieties of these colourful fluttering insects. We were in search of Comma butterflies, which are common in England, but have become more widespread in Scotland due to the warmer weather in recent years.

Comma Butterfly

 After walking about in a meadow in Baron’s Haugh in Motherwell we were rewarded with out first sight of the Comma butterfly. The Comma is called after the small white marking on the underside of the wing which resembles a comma. In the photograph above the white mark can be seen on the right wing.

Comma Butterfly

While there we also saw one of the most common butterflies in the UK – the Green-veined White. This butterfly can be found from spring through to autumn in parks, gardens, meadows and woodland. 

The so-called green veins on the underside of the adults are, in fact, an
illusion created by a subtle combination of yellow and black scales.

Green-veined White

My friend provided me with an insight into butterflies and ignited my interest in these colourful fluttering summer insects. I will spend some time learning more about them.

It had a very interesting few hours.


Filed under Baron's Haugh, Dalzell Estate, General, General, Lanarkshire, Scotland, Short Walks, strathclyde

Waxwings and Some Summer Visitors

On the walk to my local birdwatching area of Baron’s Haugh today, I saw a flock of Waxwing. There are birds I have been looking for since last Autumn and I was very glad to eventually see them. They were sitting on the roof of a block of flats and I managed to get some photographs of them using my video camera.


Waxwing have a soft silky plumage. They have unique red tips to some of their wing feathers which looks like sealing wax and gives the birds their name.

Their main food is fruit.They are winter visitors and do not breed in the UK.

Baron’s Haugh, Motherwell

The pair of Mute Swans who had built their nest a few weeks ago were both together with the female sitting on the nest. she kept moving around and we thought that she may be about to lay an egg shortly. However, the male soon left the vicinity of the nest to swim into the Haugh. The female then started collecting more reeds and made some alterations to the living quarters.

Nesting Mute Swans

Over on the raft, two Cormorant were perched looking over the Haugh. On getting a closer look with the scope, we saw a Common Sandpiper on the raft with them. This is a small wader with brown upperparts and white underparts. It bobs up and down as it moves and this is known as ‘teetering’.

Cormorant and Common Sandpiper (Click to enlarge)

The Sand Martins have arrived from Africa for the summer and Willow Warblers, another summer visitor,  could be heard everywhere. 

Only two of the injured Whooper swans could be seen on the River Clyde but they had been joined by a Mute Swan. It may be that the other Whooper Swan was able to fly back to Iceland as there was no sign of it anywhere on the river.

Looks like summer is around the corner.

Further Information:

Baron’s Haugh is an RSPB reserve in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire.

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


Last weekend at Baron’s Haugh two Mute swans were busy building a nest. This weekend they had it finished and one of the swans was sitting in the nest briefly before taking to the water for a swim. Mute swans usually breed successfully in the Haugh and hopefully this year will see some cygnets. 


Mute swans are resident birds in the UK, but Whooper swans migrate to Iceland during the summer months to take advantage of the long summer days.

Injured Whooper Swans

However, there are three Whooper swans remaining at Baron’s Haugh with injured wings. They have been unable to undertake the journey northwards. By April, all Whooper swams should have left for Iceland and it will be interesting to see how long these swans remain in Motherwell. 

Injured Whooper Swans

The Whooper swans were seen last weekend swimming quite happily in the River Clyde so they can at least hunt for food.

Injured Whooper Swans Swimming in River Clyde

The weather has been very cold so far and the breeding is behind what it should be for this time of the year. Hopefully everything goes well for all the birds in the Haugh.

Further Information:

Location: Baron’s Haugh is in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire.

Grid reference: NS756553


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