Many of you who have read the Falls of Clyde Wildlife Diary, on the Scottish Wildlife Trust website, will know that every week I write an article for the local Lanark Gazette. Each week I update readers about what is happening in nature at the Falls of Clyde and in the surrounding area. Enjoy!
The beautiful, warm spring days we have been enjoying have encouraged a sudden spurt of new growth. The woodland colour palette is now turning from greys and browns to a sheen of bright green spreading through both the upper canopy and the forest floor.
At sunrise and sunset, the countryside and back gardens of Clydesdale are filled with birdsong. Territories are being staked and protected, nests are being built, eggs laid and soon this year’s baby birds will be chirping for food. Please keep cats inside at night – it will save the lives of thousands of birds at this critical time.
Swallows & Sand Martins
Thank you to everyone who contacted us to report sightings of swallows and sand martins in the local area. They are definitely back! Sand martins, (Riparia riparia) as the name suggests, nest in tunnels in sandbanks. In the Falls of Clyde gorge, the river banks are rocky (old red sandstone and shale) but upstream and downstream from the steep ravine, there are sandbanks. These soft banks are also used by kingfishers to raise their broods. Although these birds do not nest in the gorge, they come to feed over the water and can often be seen outside the visitor centre during the summer months.
This is a wonderful time of year to observe wildlife activity anywhere near water. Rivers and ponds are teeming with life below the surface (tadpoles, newts, toads, stickle backs) on the surface (water birds e.g. mallard duck, dipper, goosander, swan and soon ducklings!) and above the surface (bats, sand martins, dragonflies and countless flies) – no wonder the sand martins have returned. The newly hatched flies, floating in dancing clusters over any expanse of water, are the main food source for not only birds and bats but also for trout and other fish.
The pair of peregrine falcons are still taking it in turns to sit on their eggs. So far there are 3 eggs, and as it is several days since the 3rd eggs was laid, this will probably be the extent of the clutch for this year. Why not take a walk up to see them (30-40 minutes stroll from New Lanark) or follow them live on the website.
For further information on all wildlife issues, please contact the Scottish Wildlife Trust Falls of Clyde visitor centre, New Lanark, 01555 665262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cherry – Visitor Centre Assistant