Digiscoping Images – Birds

For the last few weeks I have been out golfing but the sunny Easter weather took me to the local bird pond to photograph the birds. With digiscoping, bright weather is required, otherwise the images will not come out well. 

Below are some images I took.

Male Tufted Duck
Female Tufted Duck
Coot
Coot obscured behind some reeds.
Teal
Grey Heron
Nesting Whooper Swan
Great Crested Grebe

The Whooper Swan is unusual because Whoopers usually fly to Iceland to breed over the summer. This swan seems unable to fly the journey to Iceland so has remained behind. There were no other Whooper swans in the pond, but there was a Mute Swan so it may be that he is the father!

The digiscoped images have come out quite well. I find that the camers slightly over-exposes the images so it is best to take images in RAW format and under-expose the shots.

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

Night Moth

On some evenings, I go to the gym after work to use the bicycles, running machines and weights. My journey involves changing trains at Newton in Lanarkshire to catch my connection to Motherwell.

While waiting at Newton station I caught sight of this moth – it looks like a Gypsy Moth.

The mild winter has probably caused moths to appear earlier than usual. A few weeks ago I saw a bee, so it is looking good for the arrival of summer!

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Statue in Langside Road, Glasgow

My fitness regime during my working day consists of going to the gym after work and walking during lunchtime. 

I have the choice of some lovely walks in the area around my office including Queen’s Park and Linn Park. On a walk around Queen’s Park last week I noticed this beautiful statue on top of a building on Langside Avenue.

 The statue looks like a Grecian one, with some further Grecian detail around the walls of the building. Glasgow City has some wonderful buildings.

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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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Volunteering at the Kingshill Local Nature Reserve, Allanton near Shotts

Today I was helping the volunteers from the Central Scotland Forest Trust with some conservation work at Kingshill Local Nature Reserve near Shotts in North Lanarkshire.

The day very wet when I left the house to catch a bus to Allanton, a journey which seemed to take forever, as the driver kept sitting at nearly all the bus stops on the way there! 

When I eventually arrived at Allanton, Emilie from the Central Scotland Forest Trust met me at the bus stop and walked me up a path to the reserve, which took about 20 minutes. By the time we arrived to join the other volunteers, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining.

Kingshill Local Nature Reserve

The other volunteers were all busy sawing down small trees which were growing in the wetland area of the reserve. The reserve covers quite a large area and has 12 ponds, some meadows and woodland, so there is a diverse range of wildlife in the area. 

In the distance could be seen Black Law Wind Farm, near the village of Forth, owned by ScottishPower.

There are almost 20 species of butterfly and other insects to be found living amongst the wildflowers in the reserve. There were not many birds when we were there today, but in summer, the meadows will attract many of our summer visitors.

Hard at work

Cutting down the trees was hard work and everyone was putting in a good effort. There was a brief stop for lunch and Emilie had brought a case with refreshments including hot water for making tea, coffee or hot chocolate and some biscuits. A gentleman offered some cakes which his wife had baked. These were very nice.

Lunch stop

After lunch we resumed the work and  as it had got a bit warmer many of us were able to take off our fleeces and jackets. The progress we made was good and we covered a large area. 

Below are some photographs of the work which was done today.

Black Law Wind Farm in the distance

At 15.15 we started packing up and carried out a tool count to ensure that no tools were left in the area in case they injured the wildlife. I walked back with the other volunteers and got a lift  in the Central Scotland Forest Trust van to the bus stop where, after a few minutes wait, I caught a bus back home. It had been an enjoyable day out and in March we can resume our work on the site.

Further Information

Central Scotland Forest Trust 

Kingshill Local Nature Reserve

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Lunchtime Walk – Linn Park 2

The weather on Friday was bright and sunny and quite mild for early February. We decided to walk again in Linn Park, but this time on the opposite side of White Cart, from the walk we had done a few days before.

As it would have taken a good 40 minutes to walk to the entrance of the park, we took a no. 6 bus along Clarkston Road to the entrance, which reduced the time to 7 minutes. We were starting and finishing at different points so could not take the car.

Commonwealth Games 2014

Arriving at the park we saw that it was a designated hub park for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. 

Hub Park

The entrance into the park is by a tarmac path so our shoes did not get as muddy as they had on the walk a few days previously. 

Entrance to Linn Park

I was familiar with this part of the park, as I had been there in 2012.  

Path in Linn Park

It was a lovely early Spring day, as the photographs above show. 

Path in Linn Park

The advantage of walking early in the year is that there are better views of the river as they are not restricted by foliage. 

Small footbridge

 A small footbridge takes visitors over the White Cart Water to the other side. Some dog walkers were there with a number of dogs, which were all very friendly.  

View of the Park

Linn House

In the photograph above a mansion house can be seen in the top right. This is Linn House, which was built around 1811 for Rev. James Hall. A short time later he became bankrupt, resulting in the house and estate being put up for auction on behalf of the creditors. 

Linn Waterfall

We were able to view the waterfall from the other side of the river and get closer than we had been on the other side of the river. 

Signpost

The park is well signposted and the above photograph shows lovely blue sky. 

Countryside in Glasgow

In the photograph above, it is difficult to believe it was taken in one of the largest cities in Europe! It looks like it was taken in the Scottish countryside and not in an industrial city. 

White Cart Water

Our walk through the park was coming to an end and we soon arrived at Snuffmill Bridge where we had started from on our walk a few days previously. It had been a great walk. We arrived back at the office for our last few hours of the working week before the weekend arrived.

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Lunchtime Walk – Linn Park, Glasgow

One of the advantages of working in the South Side of Glasgow is the number of lovely parks within a short distance from my office. Last week I had walked with a colleague through Queens Park and this week we went to Linn Park.

I had been on a walk in the Linn Park in August 2012 (which can be viewed here ) so I was familiar with many of the paths in the park. 

Holmwood House

One of the first places we visited on the walk was Holmwood House which was designed by Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson’s and is regarded as his finest domestic design. It was built in 1857-8 for James Couper, a local businessman. The house is managed by the National Trust for Scotland and is only open from April to September. We were able to walk round the house and its grounds.

Holmwood House 

Snuffmill

After walking round the grounds of Holmwood House, we found a walk beside White Cart Water and arrived at Snuffmill Bridge. The original mill was built in the18th century as Cathcart Meal Mill and became a cardboard mill in 1812 for Solomon Lindsay of Penicuik. In 1814 a snuff mill was added. The River Cart was an important river for industrial use.  

Snuffmill Bridge

The view from the bridge was very pleasant as the photographs below show.

View from Snuffmill Bridge
View from Snuffmill Bridge

The path along the river was quite muddy, but we had walking shoes on and not office ones!   

 In some places there were steep steps, but they were easy to climb.

White Cart Water

Linn Park Waterfall
We came to a waterfall, which is the most popular feature in the park. When I were last in this area in August 2012 the waterfall was disappointing, but today it had plenty of water cascading over it. Linn is the Scottish word for waterfall.

Waterfall in Linn Park February, 2014

In August 2012 the waterfall was less spectacular.

Waterfall August 2012

We had time to admire the waterfall before making our way back to the office. It has been a pleasant walk.

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Filed under Buildings, General, Glasgow City, Scotland, Short Walks, strathclyde