Nature Notes

Swans at Lanark Loch
If you are wondering why there are so few swans at Lanark Loch at the moment, there is a strong and valid theory that it is due to a very dominant male swan (cob). This particular swan and his mate nest on the island and the male takes his job of protecting her very seriously. He is extremely aggressive with the other swans and has been seen charging into a group of 20-30, attacking randomly. Most of the other swans have been chased off the loch to huddle down by the car park – with very few left by the loch.

This dominant male has done this before, but never so dramatically. His brood are now hatched and will soon be mature enough for him to drop his vigilance. Until then, the rest of the swans have gone off to more peaceful areas like Hyndford Bridge, Tullieford upstream from Bonnington and other local, slow moving stretches of water.

Red Kite Sighting
There has been a reliable local sighting of a Red Kite. If you have seen one of these beautiful birds in Clydesdale, please let us know. Red Kites are large raptors with a distinctive V- shaped tail. They were re-introduced to Scotland in 1989 after they were hunted to extinction and it is thought that the bird seen locally may well have been travelling between Dumfries and Galloway and Perthshire where there are now small, growing populations.  Red kites are primarily scavengers, eating mainly dead rabbits, birds etc and do not regularly take live prey, posing no threat to game interests. Yet, Scotland’s introduced pairs have fared very poorly, overwhelmingly because of wildlife crime: poisoning.  When measured against  the same project, at the same time, in the Chilterns, there are now over 320 pairs in the Chilterns, while there are only 49 at the Black Isle

Wildflowers on the reserve
Common spotted orchid, smooth hawks-beard, Oxeye Daisy, pink and cream foxgloves, buttercup, and the beautiful “gracefully tattered” Ragged Robin. As well as having many myths attached to it regarding the choosing of future romantic partners, the plant of this unusual looking wildflower contains saponis – a soap substitute. This can be extracted by boiling the roots in water and used for washing clothes and hair.

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.

Cherry – Visitor Centre Assistant

Preface

Swans at Lanark Loch If you are wondering why there are so few swans at Lanark Loch at the moment, there is a strong and valid theory that it is …

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