Clyde Big Birding Day - looking back to last year
In the lead up to this year's Clyde Big Birding day we are going to feature a few of last year's stories as a way of inspiring even more people to get involved this year!
#1 - Lorna Williamson's Clyde Big Birding Day
The challenge was set! How many species could we add to the list in one day, whilst also showing the best that my local patch has to offer to our avid family helpers? By 8am, reports were already filtering through the Grapevine, giving us itchy feet to get outside! The Milngavie Library pond was our first port of call. A screaming party of twelve newly arrived Swifts greeted our party of five binoculars, and the now extended absence of the resident Mute Swan pair was noted.
After shortcutting up to the Mugdock Country Park Visitor Centre in the car, we split into two teams, each with a local guide in the form of me or David. While my mum and I tackled Peitches Moor, David and the uncles took on Khyber Field, with the aim to reconvene at Mugdock Loch in around an hour. Highlight species were an abundance of Swallows at the old gun sites for the men and a plethora of Tree Pipits for the women, who thought they were being smug sneaking over the road for Cuckoos on Dumbrock Moor, only for everyone to hear it calling distantly while we munched on breakfast rolls back at Craigend Pond! David was also chuffed to detect a reeling Grasshopper Warbler in the marshy grass at the bottom of Khyber field.
Walking down the boardwalk through Mugdock Woods, our conversation was pierced by the subtle warbling of a Redstart. Having seen sightings reported during the week, I was really hoping to get it today (a patch first for me but not for David). Staring up into ancient oaks, soon one Redstart became two, with one flitting its way into a tree near the path, and the other singing out of sight. Another group-split later, taking in the Allander and Drumclog Moor, we were back at base camp, with Garden Warbler, Sparrowhawk, and Lesser Redpoll added to the list.
Our endeavours after lunch continued to be fruitful, although with a sense of urgency to finish on time for our guests to travel home. The sun was shining, illuminating beautiful Bluebells and delicate Cuckoo Flowers, freshly adorned with minute Orange-Tip butterfly eggs.
Five hours after the others’ departure, David and I forced ourselves out at dusk on the quest of the elusive, and scarce, Woodcock. No sooner had we stepped out of the car at Drumclog car park did we hear the telltale squeak of our stripy star as it graced the (not quite) sunset sky - result! Knowing it would take a few minutes for the Woodcock’s next roding lap, we hopped over to Mugdock reservoir, which was rather empty apart from a surprise pair of Great Crested Grebes! Before going home, the woodcock spoiled us with a super low circuit, calling right above our heads.
Four different households went to bed that night delighted to have had such a fantastic time, dedicated in its entirety to seeking out wildlife, with no less than 71 birds on our list by the day’s end. Our shared appreciation and eagerness to enjoy nature has always drawn the family together, and the Clyde Birding Day was no exception, “Squeak-grunt grunt grunt”, to all the Clyde birdwatchers, and see you again next year!