Sunday, 31 March 2013

Photographs of Peregrine Nesting at New Lanark

  
                                                             View New Lanark in a larger map

The Peregrine have arrived back at New Lanark to breed for another year. The cold weather has set them back a little, but both the male and female were about for long periods today. Peregrine have been nesting at New Lanark since the 1990's.

Peregrine are crow-sized falcon with a blue-grey back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache". Females are much larger than males. The Peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching over 200mph during its high speed dive and is fastest member of the animal kingdom.

Peregrine Diet

The Peregrine diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, but it will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles, or even insects. It reaches sexual maturity at one year and mates for life. The nest is normally on a scrape on cliff edges or on tall human-made structures.

Photographs of the Peregrine

I managed to get some photographs of these beautiful birds while at the hide in New Lanark.


Female Peregrine eating a Sparrow for lunch 
Female Peregrine perched on a tree
Male peregrine on the nest
Eggs Due Soon

It is hoped that they will lay some eggs in the next week or so. The viewing area is open everyday for visitors to observe the birds.The Scottish Wildlife Trust manage the area where the birds are nesting and the site is protected on a 24 hour basis.

Scottish Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre is open every day from 10am to 4pm. Non-members are asked to donate 3.00 GBP.

Further Information

The Visitor Centre is located in New Lanark, just 30 miles south-east of Glasgow and 35 miles south-west of Edinburgh.

Falls of Clyde
New Lanark  ML11 9DB    
Tel. 01555 665 262

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Hogganfield Loch Revisited


                                                             View Hoggansfield Loch, Glasgow in a larger map 

It had been a while since I last visited Hogganfield Loch in the north of Glasgow so it was time for another visit.

The weather has been very cold of late and the birds are not as lively as they would be if it was much milder. It has also been my spring holiday fortnight and I have not managed to get much walking done, as the weather has been so unpredictable.

Cold Weather for March

Although the strong easterly wind had died down after blowing for over a week, it was quite windy at Hogganfield. The smaller birds were getting blown on the choppy water and many of them were huddled around the shore area. 


Hogganfield Loch
Hogganfield is very popular with visitors as it is in a residential area and the birds are used to humans and are not afraid. As a result, they come very close to the viewing area as they are fed by the many visitors. 

Swans

There were a large number of Mute swans and a small number of Whooper swans. Mute swans are resident in the UK, but whooper swans migrate to the Arctic in Spring for the long summer days which extend the breeding season.


White Goose
There was also a white goose which I had seen previously and many Black-headed gulls. There was also a large number of Tufted ducks further out on the loch.

I had also been told that there was a Ruddy duck on the loch but I was unable to spot it with my binoculars or my scope. Ruddy ducks are American imports and have been culled in recent years.


Great Crested Grebe (digiscope)
Great Crested Grebe (digiscope)
Pochard and Great Crested Grebe

Walking around the loch, I spotted some Pochard and two pairs of Great Crested Grebe.
Although I often see Pochard at my local bird watching pond at Baron's Haugh in Motherwell, I have not seen any Grebe.

Most of the Pochard were huddled on the bank of the 'island' as it was so cold and they were using the "wing tuck" method which involves resting their heads on their backs and nuzzling their beaks into their back feathers. This also allows birds to rest their neck muscles and also makes for better heat conservation.


Pochard using 'wing tuck' (digiscope)
Great Crested Grebe using 'wing tuck' (digiscope)
Fortunately the Grebe did lift their heads occasionally so I was able to get some photographs of these beautiful birds. I used my scope and mobile phone to take some photographs of the Grebe and Pochard which came out quite well considering my hands were so cold.

I had managed to get some good photographs so I decided to wrap it up for the day and come back on a better day when the birds were more lively.

Facilities at Hogganfield Loch

As Hogganfield Loch is very popular there is always a small shop selling refreshments and there are also toilet facilities in the golf course building it is good for a day out with friends.

Digiscoping

On arriving back at the city centre I walked to an excellent camera shop in Parnie Street, off Argyle Street, called 'Merchant City Cameras' to get information on turning my spotting scope into a digiscope, using my SLR camera attached directly to the scope. Merchant City Cameras is a great camera shop as the staff know what they are talking about and give good advice. I have previously bought a lot of my camera equipment from them.

Came out with a Zeiss catalogue and information on how to do this. I will be getting set up for this in the near future so the photographs turn out better than they do using my mobile phone camera.

Further Information

Hogganfield Loch is off the M8 at Junction 12 and can also be accessed by  bus from Glasgow City Centre. Numbers 6, 32, 37, 38 and 96 all go there. 

Address: Hogganfield Park, Cumbernauld Road, Robroyston, Glasgow G33 1AH.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Big Egg Hunt, Glasgow

The streets around Buchanan Street in Glasgow have been hosting a charity event organised by Action for Children called the Big Egg Hunt. There are 101 giant eggs, many of which feature designs from leading artists, which have been located in Glasgow's streets and shops as part of an Easter fund-raising event.

The eggs are all around 2 feet high and are mounted on wooden boxes with details of their artists and sponsors. Unfortunately, one worth 10,000GBP was stolen on Friday 15th March, but hopefully it will turn up undamaged.


The event is being held in a number of cities in the UK. 

Here are some photographs of the event in Glasgow.



St Enoch's
St Enoch's
Lindt Bunny at St Enoch's
Easter in Budapest by Nick Kaplony
High Parade by Lucy Atherton
Dora the explorer by Nick Jr
Egg Tank by Mark Hayward
Equinox by Barbie Harrison
A Frugal Meal by Charlie Billingham 
Peter Rabbit by Penguin
Midges Smoking in the Air by Paul Westcombe

Humpty Dumpty
The Beetles - John Lennon
The Beetles - George Harrison


The Beetles - Ringo Starr
The Beetles Paul McCartney
The eggs are all very well thought out and well designed. It was very enjoyable walking looking at them.

Details of the egg hunt can be found at http://www.thebigegghunt.co.uk/.


Friday, 1 March 2013

Birds in my Garden

 One of the things I enjoy is feeding the birds so I have a variety of bird feeders in the garden to attract different kinds of birds.

Mostly I get the usual Blue tits, Coal tits and Great tits, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Sparrows, Starlings, Robins and Collared doves, but recently I have been getting Great spotted woodpecker and a Treecreeper.

While I was observing the feeders through my scope I managed to get some pictures of the treecreeper through the scope.

A Treecreeper
I usually only see Treecreeper when out in wooded areas and have never seen one in my garden before.

It was eating the fat cake which I hang up on the tree for the birds. The fat is quite soft compared with that found in the fat balls, so it is only suitable for putting out in the winter when it is quite cold. In the summer it would quickly melt.

Female Blackbird
A Female Blackbird
A Starling
A Blue tit
Hopefully I can get a photograph of the Great spotter woodpecker.