The last time I last wrote about Baron’s Haugh (an RSPB reserve in Motherwell) it was in January. Fast forward to June and the breeding season is well underway, with the swans and ducks on the Haugh, youngsters in tow. Baron’s Haugh is an RSPB reserve off Manse Road in Motherwell.
The coots are still nesting and their young should hatch later this month, or at the beginning of July. Their nests float on top of the water to prevent them from being flooded if the water level rises.
Two heron can usually be seen at various points in the Haugh. When I was there, one of the heron was seen flying with a duckling in its mouth, but managed to drop it into the water, no doubt to the relief of its distraught parents.
Other Birds on the Haugh
Reed bunting can usually be heard around the Haugh and can be seen standing on the rushes at the Marsh Hide. There are also some little grebe and great crested grebe on the water and they are usually seen near the platform between the Causeway hide and the Phoenix Hide.
While walking around the Haugh, I passed a tree which had a family of whitethroat singing and moving about. Some juveniles were calling to be fed and the adults were trying to keep up with the demands of the youngsters.
The usual residents including coal, blue and great tits, goldfinches, blackcaps, wrens, buntings, sandmartins, blackbirds, chaffinch, chiffchaff and buzzards were all present.
Colony of Sandmartins
The far bank of the River Clyde was again home to a colony of sandmartins. The tell-tail signs of sandmartins nesting are the small holes in the riverbank with many birds flying in and out of the holes. The holes contain the birds nests.
Looking at the sandbank with binoculars can reveal youngsters in the nests as they often sit at the opening waiting for the adults to return with food.
When I was there, a few youngsters were looking out of the nests waiting for the adults to return with food (see photo left). A scope would have given a closer view.
The RSPB are clearing the rhododendrum at the moment. This is an invasive species which spreads rapidly and inhibits the growth of other plants.
By doing this, new plant growth will occur which will be of benefit to the wildlife in the park.
Baron’s Haugh is off Manse Road Motherwell.
Grid reference: NS756553
Nearest town: Motherwell, North Lanarkshire
County: North Lanarkshire