It’s been a busy week on the reserve for sightings. We’ve had Meadow pipits in the (you guessed it!) meadow and although relatively common, I’ve never seen them here before. We’ve also had a Common sandpiper flying down the gorge. In the past they have nested on the reserve below Bonnington Weir but were sadly unsuccessful (we believe disturbance from dogs, but with the variable water-levels it was only a matter of time before the nest washed away).
In the Gorge
I saw an American Mink in the gorge below Bonnington Linn, the river is incredibly low at the moment and it was just swimming about in one of the pools. A few moments later I also saw a Common sandpiper fly down the river. Below the ‘old’ peregrine watch site I heard a right raucous with what sounded like recently fledged Dippers pestering their parents for food. Near Corra Castle a pair of Mistle Thrush were flying about, they landed briefly on the big Oak tree overhanging the river and then they were off again. Other birds seen on the river include, Pied wagtail, Grey wagtail, a pair of Goosander, Cormorant, Kingfisher, a Raven flying through the gorge getting mobbed by two Carrion crows and over 50 Sand martins above Bonnington weir.
In the Meadow
A completely new record for me on the reserve is the pair of Meadow pipits I saw. One of them was sitting on one of the fence posts by the road while the other was in the undergrowth. After they were disturbed they flew off towards the main meadow area. Fingers crossed we will have them breeding in the reserve this year! Other sightings for the meadow include a pair of Pied wagtail (they are definitely nesting nearby), Green-veined white and Orange tip butterflies. Look out for the Cowslips as you get towards the top of the meadow at the Corra Linn end. I also have a feeling there are a pair of Blue tits nesting in the big oak next to the cattle grid.
In the Woods
Lots of Roe deer in various areas but mainly seen along the blue route. A lonely 7-Spot ladybird which is one of the most common ladybirds in the UK. More Green-veined whites along with a Peacock and Small white butterflies. There was a Blackcap merrily singing behind Mid Lodge and also another on the vehicle track next to the road near the village. Other birds found throughout the woods include Chiff chaff, Blue tit, Blackbird, Wren, Great tit, Robin, Goldcrest, Willow warbler, Wood pigeon, Bullfinch, Chaffinch and Great spotted woodpecker. Having recently been on a bumblebee identification course, I am slightly obsessed with identifying everyone I see. This week has been pretty good with Early bumblebees seen feeding on the blaeberry flowers, Buff-tailed bumblebees across the reserve, a Common carder feeding on Water avens along the boardwalk, also a Garden bumblebee and a Forest cuckoo bumblebee.
The wildflowers are pretty much the same as last week with Wood anemone, Dandelion, Great wood rush, Lesser celandine, Marsh marigold, Dog’s mercury, Cuckoo flower, Alternate-leaved golden saxifrage, Opposite-leaved golden saxifrage, Red campion, Common dog violet, Wood sorrel, Bluebell, Wild strawberry, Pink purslane and Moschatel. We also have the addition of Wavy bitter cress, Creeping forget me not, Water avens, Globe flower and Wild garlic. The Globe flower can be found along the boardwalk and on the islands at the end of the boardwalk and is just coming into flower. The Wild garlic is found on the Corehouse side of the river opposite the boardwalk.
Send us your sightings – firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Preston, Falls of Clyde Ranger
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