Went birdwatching with the RSPB group from Motherwell at Baron’s Haugh in Motherwell today. The Haugh was largely frozen, apart for a small area near the Marsh Hide.
As a result of the frozen Haugh, the River Clyde was the main area used for watching the birds. Local bird expert, Jimmy Maxwell, was with the group and we were able to learn more about birds from him. We are so lucky to have him in the group. Jimmy will teach you everything you want to know about birds.
Among the birds spotted today were mallards, goldeneyes, shovellers, gadwall, heron, magpies, jays and bluetits. Also heard the drumming of a woodpecker in the distance, but were unable to spot it. A few grey squirrels were also seen in the trees near the Hamilton Family Mausoleum.
Mink in the Clyde
While at lunch beside the logs near the Phoenix Hide, a mink was seen going into the River Clyde but did not show itself after this.
Judas’ Ear Fungi at Baron’s Haugh
January is not the month to see fungi as most of it is killed off by the cold weather. However, we did spot some magnificent Judas Ear fungi, which is one of the few fungi to withstand the severe cold of January.
This fungus is ear shaped, and can vary in colour from purple to dark brown or black, with a rubbery texture. It is most often found on dead elder, elm and beech trees.
It was said that Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, hanged himself on an elder tree, which is the origin of the name.
It develops new growths in January, which is normally the coldest month of the year in Britain. It can actually freeze solid, and when thawed out shows no ill effects. It can be found all year long.
It is edible, and is used in China for cooking and medicinal purposes.
The weather was fairly mild and not as cold as it has been in recent weeks.