You might know that in Linn Park there are 40 bird boxes! Well Friends of Linn Park have just been supported even further by Travis Perkins (Muirend) allowing us to double that number! The local merchant gave Friends of Linn Park an absolutely amazing deal meaning more wildlife homes around Linn Park and the local area. We cannot thank them enough and we would highly recommend them as their wood is FSC approved and very competitively priced.
Please have a look at their website and visit their stores!
Thanks to the support from everyone and Travis Perkins (Muirend) we will have around 100 boxes in the park for the coming years! Every box will be checked once a week during the breeding season and as many chicks as possible will be ringed by the Clyde Ringing Group for scientific purposes. We will run bird ringing demonstrations where members of the public will have the chance to release birds in their hands! The amount of data we will be able to collect will be amazing! Here is a list of boxes we will have up in the park (a few others may be created but are still undecided on for now):
25mm diameter hole
28mm diameter hole
32mm diameter hole
Special Treecreeper Box Design
100mm high front
60mm high front
140mm high front
150mm diameter hole
Species We Aim To Get Nesting
(Any other birds/ animals would be great!)
Other funding will also allow us to create Bat Boxes, Bug Houses, Butterfly Houses, Hedgehog Houses and more! (This will be in the future) Our aim is not only to provide scientific data for the British Trust for Ornithology but also to get more young people interested in nature. There are many other reasons too! Volunteers are wanted for monitoring boxes around Linn Park and other places right across Glasgow. (If you are interested in helping then please contact me through the contact page)
Yesterday was an Scottish Ornithologist Club (SOC) outing run by the Clyde SOC group. This was at Aberlady Bay which is amazing for waders, sea birds and many other species! When the tide is out, the mud expanse is very extensive. The waders all turn up to feed at this point and as the tide comes in, the waders are brought closer.
As my dad and I live in Glasgow this meant an hour and 10 mins drive so we thought we might as well spend most of the day there. We left at 7:30am and headed to Musselbourgh Lagoons. Unfortunately not much was showing. Later on definitely made up though! We arrived in Aberlady Bay carpark at 10am to see others with spotting scopes and binoculars watching over the bay. Everyone who was supposed to be on he trip had arrived by 10:40am and by then we had already found grey plover, bar tailed Godwit, little egret and many other birds.
By 10:50am we had started to head along the walkway and along the way we picked up some common birds. Then all of a sudden when we approached the golf course, a man called suddenly spotted 12 grey partridge on the golf course! They couldn’t care less about the flying golf balls (they stood so still). We watched them for about 1min until a short eared owl flew over, surprising us all and drawing our attention towards it! Since we were a big group with a mixture of photographers, four of us decided to separate from the group and photograph the owl hunting. The others wanted to head along the beach to try pick up more species. My group included David Palmer, My dad (Kevin Sinclair) and another photographer. We managed to find a second owl and we all got some shots! We then headed to meet the group who were lucky enough to have seen Slavonian Grebe, Arctic Skua and Kittiwake.
When we joined back with the others, we all gladly stoped at a point and looked out onto sea. This was a good rest and pain relief after I had been hiding in thorns to try get a decent owl shot. We all scanned the scene and managed to find Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Long-tailed duck and some other small birds at the edge like Rock Pipit, Sanderling, Wheatear and Turnstone. By now it was time to head back to the car park. We saw some fungi on the way (i’m unsure what species, can anyone help?) It took a while but we got there and I had my food which I had been craving for ages as I didn’t think to bring it with me on the walk.
We got into the car, we went to the next car park (nearby) and managed to find Golden Plover, Tree Sparrows, Greenshank and a Peregrine which were some new species to add to the list for the day. After that we stopped at the SOC HQ. I said goodbye to everyone and I hope to see them again as everyone was very friendly! Someone even asked about helping at Linn Park (where I volunteer) which was really nice. Everyone was very supportive and we all had an absolutely fantastical time!
To finish, my dad and I decided to go to the nuclear power station to try and see a Yellow-browed Warbler which had been seen at the car park. Sure enough it was there. As soon as I stepped out the car it was right in front of me!!!
As i’m sure lots of you are aware, there will be a walk for wildlife in Hyde Park, London on the 22nd of September. Many people are gathering to show their support for wildlife and to try and get the government to do more for our wildlife.
I was again lucky enough to be accepted into the BTO bird camp which is a camp held at the BTO headquarters in Thetford and funded/sponsored by the Cameron Bespolka Trust. The camp started on Friday evening and finished on Sunday late afternoon. The camp is aimed at giving young people more of a chance to connect with nature and to give people the opportunity to speak to others with the same interests!
My dad recently booked a photography hide (www.photographyhides.co.uk) that almost guaranteed seeing Common kingfishers which would catch fish about 3metres away from you and eat them! Kingfishers are birds which mostly fish in rivers for fish like sticklebacks and minnows. Seeing one up close and being able to photograph one would be amazing as they are quite small, very shy and very fast when flying. Any sudden movements scare them very easily.
It was an early 5am start and a 2hour drive to the meeting location. When we arrived we met Shona (www.shonadicksonphotography.co.uk) who was the only other person booked in the same hide as us. We waited about 10 mins before someone led us to the location in which the Kingfishers were at. We were shown the setup of everything and given tips on how to get good photos of the kingfishers. From then on it was just Shona, my dad and I in the hide waiting for the Kingfishers.
AFTER ABOUT 10MINS OF WAITING THE MALE KINGFISHER CAME AND CAUGHT A FISH (minnow) RIGHT IN FRONT OF US!!! After he caught the fish he landed on the perch and shook it about and then hit the fish of off the perch before swallowing it head first. He would then wait a while before diving to catch another fish which he then flew off with.
About 45 mins later he was back and did the exact same but surprisingly he returned about 5mins later after flying off and did the same thing! Since my dad and I had better camera lens’ we decided to lend one to Shona who put it on her camera allowing her to get some GREAT SHOTS! We all came to an agreement that we think the male is eating a fish for himself then catching one and taking it for the female which is on eggs!
We then waited 2 1/2 hours with no Kingfishers perching which was annoying but then the owner (Alan) came in and asked how we were all doing. We told him what the male Kingfisher had been doing and he agreed that the female was on eggs and the Male was taking fish for her. Alan said he thought that the original nest the Kingfishers were using had either been predated by a mink or something but maybe even flooded! He said we could go and see the sparrow hawk hide if we wanted as there is only one other person there. Sparrowhawks are birds of prey which often catch small birds and eat them on a ‘plucking perch’ (this is a chosen spot in which the Sparrowhawk will eat its prey and pluck off the feathers/ hair) They often visit gardens catching a vulnerable pigeon!
After 30 mins more of the Kingfisher hidewe went to the Sparrowhawkhide and met another man who told us what he had seen. This includes Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk and various common garden birds. (Unfortunately Shona had to leave and couldn’t join us)
We were very lucky and saw exactly what the man said which included Jays, Red Squirrels, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk and loads of common garden birds all in the first HOUR! We then decided to have one last look at the Kingfisher hide. We saw him three more times but unfortunately he caught nothing!
Over the time we spent in the hides we were all constantly changing camera settings to enable us to get shots of the kingfisher diving, the Sparrowhawk eating a mouse and Red Squirrels eating nuts. As the layout of the hides were designed to get photos of the Kingfishers diving, the Sparrowhawk and other species we were very successful and we were all happy with our photos but some of the photos I managed to get are quite grainy because it was a very cloudy and rainy day. Hopefully I get the chance to go again but in much better light and weather conditions!
Young Wildlife Enthusiast, Volunteer, Blogger & Photographer.