It’s that time of year where things I begin to feel a bit lonely here at the Falls of Clyde. Adam our seasonal ranger finished last week, our interns have gone and so now it is just Andy who is volunteering a few days a week and me. I am not complaining though. It is nice to have the reserve all to myself again. With less people around the wildlife is a bit more cooperative.
After Adam filled in for me last week (yes, I was on another holiday!) it has been lovely to come back and hear about people’s sightings of Nuthatch around Lanark and down the Clyde Valley towards Stonebyres Linn. They are seemingly on our doorstep so it is only a matter of time before they breed here on the reserve. Oddly enough while I was away in Slovakia I saw a nuthatch! I so rarely see them, so this was a real treat. We had an amazing view of one moving up and down some pine trees, it was very open so we could watch it for a good few minutes.
The Nuthatch is fairly easy to recognise. It is steely grey-blue above, pinky buff below and has a prominent black eyetstripe, white chin and dark, dagger-like bill. Nuthatches are busy and agile birds, typically seen working their way down a tree trunk searching for food. If you see a pair of birds together you might be able to make out the extra reddish brown markings down the flanks of the male bird, just under the wing. Their nests are built quite high – 3m above ground with a clear flight path. Mud is plastered around the entrance, side and roof of the nest cavity. They are not common in this area so if you see one you are very lucky indeed!
Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger