Had cycled past Ibrox on the way out of Glasgow the previous evening. Impressive stadium but not as good as Villa Park! OK maybe I am a little biased. Names from tragedies were topped by a statue of John Grieg.
The early morning was spent walking along the south bank of the Inner Clyde RSPB reserve; lapwing, curlew and oystercatchers a plenty and four buzzards on top of football posts. Impressive views over to the cloud covered hills on the other side and the mist from the overnight rain adding to the atmosphere. Thousands of wooden posts standing in the dirt. later I was told that these were left over from the declining ship building industry in the area. They used to ram the posts into the mud for it to be salt seasoned. Now there's intricate patterns of posts stretching out to the low tide edge.
The cycle to lochwinnoch was easier than I'd expected so arrived earlyish at around 10.30am. Coffee and chat with Russell,a volunteer, Paula, the assistant reserve manager and Zul, the warden. Brilliant enthusiastic people.
Just time for a short walk to the first two hides after noting what birds were on view from the fabulous visitor's centre on the feeders placed outside the windows.
Broad-leaved helleborines along the side of the pathway. Glasgow's were the first I'd seen, now they're everywhere. Flowers just about to open; should look good in a few days time. Eventually found over 30 plants and that was just along the path. What lurks in the woods.
26 species of bird seen or heard before a phone call to say that the photographer from the Glasgow Herald had arrived. Sedge and grasshopper warblers heard and bank voles by the feeding station in the woods.
Jim [James?] Galloway was thorough to say the least. He was very friendly, chatty and a pleasure and privilige to meet. What a career he's had; following the British Lions Rugby team , The Scottish team likewise, The Ryder Cup team and various golf tournaments, Grand Prix's and Royal events around the world. He was also there at Lockerbie and at Princess Diana's wedding in the cathedral. Great bloke and now he's photographing me. Put his name in on google images and see what I mean. Diverse and creative. Jim spoke of his retirement plans and I wish him all the very best in getting his cottage. He spent the afternoon in the photography hide available at the reserve.
Paula and I rode into the village of Lochwinnoch to a small, nice cafe on the crossroads there. Smoked salmon sandwich and hot chocolate, a great combination. When it came to making the payment, we were told that the warden Zul, had phoned to say that he would pay. Thanks so much Zul. A lovely kind gesture and very much appreciated.
Paula is a lovely girl. Not only a keen natural historian with an profound interest in moths but also a rock drummer and in samba bands too. I wish her all the very best and congratulations over her recent engagement to Emily.
Paula with some greater butterfly orchids on the meadow.
Zul then took me around some of the nearby birdy spots and I met other volunteers and staff at the reserve.
Finally the reserve closed. Goodbyes and good luck wishes both ways.
Ann, Paula, Russell and Zul
Lochwinnoch RSPB Reserve Tower
Spent the next hour walking around the reserve, initially with Paula and then just a couple of minutes after she'd headed for home, pished 2 family groups fantastically close, sometimes with arm's reach; willow warblers and long-tailed tits, with a couple of great tits. Brillaiant. Ended the reserve bird list for the day at 42, including treecreeper and an injured whooper swan. How many of those have I seen on my tour?
Friday 16th July 2010
Now at Ardrossan, just about to take the ferry over to Arran; the first of quite a few boats over the coming weeks.
Islay by Monday and maybe a lifer waiting for me there - corncrake I NEED IT!