Have you ever heard of green birding? The idea is that you go for a stroll or bike ride from your home and enjoy watching birdlife in your local area without the use of a vehicle. I recently spent a day green birding in the Lanark area and had a great time. Okay, I may be fortunate to have the Falls of Clyde reserve on my doorstep, however my route extended into the surrounding countryside, producing some amazing and surprising wildlife encounters.
As I approached the River Clyde a flock of moulting mallard snoozed on the water, whilst a common whitethroat belted out its scratchy song from nearby scrub. Walking through a field white with the blooms of pignut I encountered my first ever chimney sweeper, a day flying moth whose caterpillars like to munch on… yes that’s right, pignut. Ascending one of the many hills I was greeted with superb views of Lanark to the north and Tinto to the south, meanwhile skylark and meadow pipit song filled the air. Upon reaching an old stone wall I spotted the best and most unexpected bird of the day, a female wheatear. Raising my bins to eyelevel I then noted that the bird had a bill full of insects. A few seconds later she flew along the wall to feed a recently fledged chick, confirmation of a good breeding record.
Chimney sweeper moth on its larval food plant, pignut (C) Adam Jones
Hopefully I may have inspired some of you to go and have your own green birding experience. Of course you don’t have to stick to birds, as you can see my walk produced a variety of wildlife in a stunning landscape. I’ll finish with a top tip which is to study your local OS map and incorporate a range of habitats into your outing.
Adam Jones – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Seasonal Ranger
Help support our vital work and join us today!