Winter Activities in Strathclyde Park, Motherwell

The cold weather has replaced the gale-force winds we experienced last week and there was quite a bit of snow and ice about. However, we had lovely winter sunshine and the park was very busy – some children even brought their sledges to play on.

The loch had some ice around the sides which had been broken up by the park rangers to prevent people trying to walk on it.

Outside the Watersports Centre

There were quite a number of birds on the loch but no rare ones – just the usual Mute Swans, Mallard ducks, Black-headed Gulls and Greylag Geese. We took some photographs of the birds as we walked along.

It was great to get out into the wonderful sunshine as we have not had much of it for a few weeks.  It was a bit slippy underfoot but we had taken our ice grippers with us – the ones which attach onto the soles of shoes. These were very good and stopped us slipping. 

Outside the Watersports Centre

The ‘Beach’

Further round at the ‘beach’ there were some more birds. Many birds congregate here because there is a car parking and children’s play area so it is a usually a busy place.  

The ‘Beach’
Mute Swan

The Mute swan above was very tame. It had a feather on it’s beak!

Mute Swan
Grooming
Ice on Strathclyde loch

The ice around the edge of the loch can be seen in the photograph above.

Ice on Strathclyde loch

Making Bird Nesting Boxes

After our walk we went to the boathouse to build a nesting box for the birds. The park rangers were organising this and all the equipment was provided for us. We made a Blue-tit and a Robin nesting boxes.

Ready to start making the nesting box
Nails are inserted

The boxes are made by putting in some nails to the sides then adding the roof and the bottom.

The bottom of the nesting box

  

Blue-tit box

The Blue-tit box can be lifted off for cleaning after the nesting season is complete. In the photograph above a small wire is used to secure the roof to stop it blowing off in the wind.

Robin Nesting Box

Making the Robin nesting box
The end results.

It was a good day out and we also got a good walk in the park and also made the nesting boxes.

Further Information

Strathclyde Country Park


Winter Birds at Baron’s Haugh, Motherwell

It has been quite mild here, if a little wet. However, today the sun was shining and it looked a perfect day for a spot of bird-watching. 

I walked to Baron’s Haugh and caught up with a few of my birding friends who were in the Marsh hide. There was not much to see from this hide, so we decided to go to the next one – the Causeway hide. 

This was much better as there were a lot more birds to see, including a large number of Teals. Unfortunately, the sun disappeared behind some dark clouds and the light became quite poor.

A couple from Linlithgow were visiting for the first time today and were impressed with the numbers of birds in the area. They had been at Loch Leven the day before and were wrapping up the long Christmas break with a visit to Motherwell.

Below are some photographs I took through my scope, although the poor light has not been strong enough to bring out the nice colours of the birds. Click on the photographs to enlarge. 

Teals
Teals

Teals are small dabbling ducks. The Males have chestnut coloured heads with broad green eye-patches, while the females are mottled brown. In winter they congregate in wetlands and many have come from the Baltic and Siberia. 

Male Goldeneye

Goldeneye are winter visitors. The males have a dark green head with a distinctive white circle under the eyes. The females have a brown head. The bird above was by itself and there were no other Goldeneye with him. 

Juvenile mute Swan

In Springtime we watched the adult swans building their nest and the bird above has successfully reached its first winter. It still has some of the dull juvenile feathers remaining, but they will soon be replaced by white ones. The beak is still a grey colour and it will soon become a bright orange one.

Adult Male Swan

In the picture above, the mute swan has a pair of Gadwall in front of him and just above his head, with the brown and white wings, is a Shoveller. 

By about 2.00pm the light was fading fast so it was time to call it a day and go home.

Feathered Winter Visitors

Since my last post I have been attending my archery classes and taking photographs for various people which has taken up a lot of my time. However, today was lovely and sunny and just perfect for a spot of digiscoping at the local bird pond. 

The winter visitors are here and we managed to get some nice photographs of many the birds. Even although the scope can stretch quite a distance, some of the birds were just a bit too far away to photograph them to a good standard.

Below are some of the photographs we took.

The Canada geese always photograph well because they are large birds and also seem to come closer to the water’s edge than the other birds. In the summer I posted some photographs of the young birds which were on the golf course. They have all grown up now.

Canada Geese
Canada Geese
Canada Geese and Widgeon
Canada Geese and Widgeon
Whooper Swans
Canada Geese and Widgeon
Canada Geese and Widgeon
Whooper Swans

The Whooper swans above include two juveniles – their white beaks dull brown feathers identify them as immature.

Other birds on the pond were Great crested grebes, Tufted ducks, Gadwall, Black-headed gulls, and a Heron. It is a busy pond with plenty of birds to see.

There will not be too many sunny days this winter so it was very enjoyable today.

The Canada geese always photograph well because they are large birds and also seem to come closer to the water’s edge than the other birds. In the summer I posted some photographs of the young birds which were on the golf course. They have all grown up now and are difficult to spot.

The Whooper swans above include two juveniles – their white beaks dull brown feathers identify them as immature.Other birds on the pond were Great crested grebes, Tufted ducks, Gadwall, Black-headed gulls, and a Heron. It is a busy pond with plenty of birds to see. There will not be too many sunny days this winter so it was very enjoyable today.

We did pack up a bit early as there was a man lurking about in the trees watching us and we were a bit afraid he was intending to steal our equipment or attack us.