Nature Notes

Apparently, it was the driest April on record, certainly for over one hundred years and we were beginning to see the effects of the draught in many areas of Scotland. Devastating wildfires in the Highlands, stunted new growth in arable fields and dangerously low water levels in lochs, reservoirs and rivers, all gave us a taste of what it must be like to live in a drier country. It is no coincidence that Scotland’s usually high rainfall and world renowned beauty go hand in hand. All living things need water and so it is a relief to have enjoyed several wet days in a row, allowing the parched earth to replenish its vital supplies.

However, it takes more than a few showers to restore the depleted water table and soak sufficiently into peat and heath-land before we can stop being so vigilant about fires. Please always take great care if you are setting a fire in the countryside, and dispose of cigarette butts safely.

Osprey, Herons and Dippers
There have been several reliable sightings of an osprey on the Falls of Clyde reserve and near New Lanark. These magnificent, huge birds, are often referred to as “fish eagles” because they catch fish by scooping them out of the water with their talons.

One good aspect of low water levels in the rivers is the abundance of water birds which gather to take minnows and insects from rock pools. Outside the Scottish Wildlife Trust visitor centre there is always activity of one kind or another, whether it’s the ducks with their ducklings, goosanders diving and swimming beneath the surface, dippers, sandpipers and wagtails (both pied and grey) bobbing on the rocks or the haughty heron, (Lang Sandy in Scots) prowling patiently for an unwary duckling or fish.

Sightings
The Falls of Clyde Peregrine falcons still have one egg remaining to hatch. The two new chicks can be observed quite easily now, nestled on the eyrie and being looked after by their very attentive parent birds. (view live pictures www.swt.org.uk)

White throat, red poll, great spotted wood pecker, willow warbler, chaffinch (several types of finch) blue tit, tree creeper, blackbird, thrush, wren, wood pigeon (nesting near their enemies, the peregrines!).

For further information on all wildlife issues please contact the Scottish Wildlife Trust Falls of Clyde visitor centre, New Lanark 01555 665262 or email fallsofclyde@swt.org.uk.

Preface

Apparently, it was the driest April on record, certainly for over one hundred years and we were beginning to see the effects of the draught in many areas of Scotland. …

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