Encouraged by the warm, sunny weather, fruit trees are now heavy with blossom and humming with insects. Spring is streaking through the Falls of Clyde National Nature Reserve, touching everything with hopeful, new green growth. Longer hours of daylight and rising temperatures affect all wildlife, from bluebells to butterflies, badgers to bats.
One of the birds most often seen in Clydesdale is the Blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). Just because there are so many around does not make them ‘common’. These are beautiful little birds; agile, colourful and, when defending their territory, aggressive. It is not unusual to see two male blue tits locked in combat, tumbling to the ground. It can appear very dramatic and often leaves the weaker one nursing its pride in a heap of rumpled feathers. However, they are feisty little birds and soon recover.
Blue tits feed mostly on insects, especially caterpillars, and seeds. In springtime they also feed on pollen, nectar and sap, and in the autumn on berries. In the garden they search among the plants and crevices for insects (e.g. aphids, beetles, and caterpillars) and spiders, but also take sunflower hearts or peck at a suet food bar or peanuts. In the days when we had milk bottle deliveries to the front door, blue tits were fond of pecking through the foil lids to reach the cream!
When you see bluebells blooming you know it is a good time of year to observe young badgers emerging from the sett for the first time. All baby badgers are born in February, so by late April and into May this year’s cubs are venturing to the surface.
The Falls of Clyde Badger Watches are starting again (first one on 30th April), book early to avoid disappointment because there are limited places on each evening. Please see contact details below.
Heron, dipper, sand piper, swallow, goosander, mallard duck, blackbird, thrush, robin, wren, chaffinch, blue tit, great spotted woodpecker and buzzard.
The peregrine falcons nesting at the Falls of Clyde are still incubating three eggs which are due to hatch in early May. You can view the eyrie from the centre by CCTV or walk up to the Hide and see them for yourself!
For further information on all wildlife issues, please contact the Scottish Wildlife Trust Falls of Clyde visitor centre 01555 665262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cherry – Visitor Centre Assistant