In the summer there were several Mallard broods on the river and Song Thrushes were seen feeding young opposite the Arboretum and downstream near the new extension to Glasgow Academy. Robins, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Wrens and Long-tailed Tits all bred successfully but the Sparrowhawks did not return to last year’s nest site near Belmont Street bridge. In July a Heron at the fish ladder beside the weir was seen feeding on a plentiful supply of eels, swallowing them after a rather undignified struggle. A nearby Herring Gull was not so lucky, losing the fight when the eel succeeded in wriggling free and dropping back into the river. Cormorants, Moorhen and Dipper are also present, and sightings of Kingfisher have been more frequent in the Kelvinbridge/Kelvingrove Park area. Grey Wagtails were observed at Dawsholm, in the Arboretum and near Belmont Street bridge.
The last Swifts were seen in mid-August but numbers seemed low this year. By the end of October there were five Goosanders by the Botanic Gardens footbridge – four females and a juvenile male. A week later two males had joined
the group. On 16 November a male Blackcap was eating rowanberries – normally insectivorous, Blackcaps, like other
species such as Dunnocks, Robins, Blackbirds and thrushes, change their diet in autumn to take advantage of the abundant supply of fruits. The Blackcap is about the size of a Great Tit but a more slender build, with a medium-sized blue-grey beak and grey legs. The black cap of the male gives the species its name – in females and young birds the cap is a russet brown. Scotland has about 56,000 breeding pairs but in winter the population drops to somewhere between 150 and 1,000 birds. These are not breeding birds who have stayed behind to overwinter here – it is believed that Scottish breeding birds are all migrants, leaving their breeding sites in August and September to spend the winter in Africa, north of the Sahara. Our winter Blackcaps are likely to be migrants from central and northern Europe.
To end this report I have included a species list, compiled over the last few years, of birds seen along the Kelvin from Dawsholm down to Benalder Street bridge. At present the total stands at 48 species but I am sure readers will be able to add to this from their own observations. How lucky we are to have to have such amazing diversity on our doorstep. Please do get in touch with any additional species. I would be delighted to hear from you.
|Great Spotted Woodpecker
This FORK Bird Report is taken from the Winter 2009-10 edition of FORK News