Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) on the Clyde Estuary
The national WeBS is organised by the BTO, and in Scotland coordinated by the SOC. In the Clyde area we have had excellent coverage for many years, but recently there has been a marked decline due to a shortage of volunteer counters. The most important site urgently in need of new counters is the Clyde Estuary, which requires a team of at least 12 regular volunteers and several reserve counters. The Clyde Branch has been coordinating monthly bird counts of the estuary for the past 45 years, with a break only in 1978 due to shortage of volunteers in that year. Two of our current team of volunteers have been counting throughout that entire period!
This month the count takes place this coming Sunday, 7th December. Three regular counters have indicated being unavailable, which has left us short of stand-in counters on two sectors of the estuary – West Ferry to Newark Castle, and Port Glasgow to Gourock Bay. If you are interested in helping out at short notice for Sunday’s count, or willing to join the team either as a regular or stand-in volunteer, please contact the Clyde area organiser, John Clark on email@example.com.
John can provide helpful guidance on how best to survey individual sectors, and the count methodology. He can also arrange for you to shadow an existing counter to gain experience. We are also looking for additional volunteers to take on a number of freshwater sites. Adopting a regular patch can be an enjoyable and very rewarding experience, as well as making an important ‘citizen science’ contribution to the conservation of our local wild bird populations.
For more information on the Wetland Bird Survey see http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/webs.
The Clyde branch of the SOC holds a varied range of informal talks and presentations on a monthly basis from September – April. Meetings take place in the Graham Kerr Building at the University of Glasgow – students are always very welcome to attend!
Evening talks programme
Zoology Department, Graham Kerr Building, University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ (click here to view a map of the venue and surrounding area).
The following Mondays at 7.30pm
05 Jan 2015 ”House Sparrows in Glasgow: Where are they and what do they need?”, with Toby Wilson
In keeping with the UK trend, house sparrows in Glasgow have suffered significant declines in the past few decades, in some parts of the city by as much as 98%! Toby Wilson, RSPB’s Conservation Officer for Strathclyde will discuss a joint project being run between RSPB and Glasgow University to examine the needs of Glasgow’s sparrows and what might be done to help them. He will also touch issues surrounding another iconic urban bird, the swift, and conservation measures that are being undertaken for it.
02 Feb 2015 Ian Thomson – Shotguns & Short-toed Eagles: Birding on the island of Malta
02 Mar 2015 Paul Walton – Birds in the marine environment
06 Apr 2015 AGM & Members’ Night
0141 773 4329
0141 557 0791
About the branch
Treasurer and representative of the branch on SOC Council:
Liz Parsons, Toby Wilson, Alan Wood, Dawn Anderson, Fiona Morton, Sandra Hutchinson
Ex officio members:
Iain Gibson and Val Wilson
Clyde Islands recorder:
Clyde SOC Grapevine
SOC branches communicate recent bird sightings to members by various means, and in Clyde this is through an email circulated daily to subscribing members. It also incorporates the Clyde Islands SOC Recording Area. We are pleased to provide weekly summaries here. Any SOC member wishing to receive the Clyde Grapevine on a daily basis should contact Assistant Clyde Recorder Val Wilson on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Weekly Summary 7 – 13 December 2014
Sunday Eight Greenshank roosting off Kelburn Park, Woodhall, Port Glasgow. Five Gadwall and two Shovelers on Barr Loch, RSPB Lochwinnoch.
Monday A Barnacle Goose with 105 Canada Geese on Castle Semple Loch.
Thursday Two Barnacle Geese with three White-fronted Geese in the fields behind Shiskine, Arran. A female Mandarin Duck on the River Leven at Balloch.
Friday A Little Auk on the road at Fairhaven, Catacol Bay, Arran, taken into care, but died. 14 Whooper Swans on Hogganfield Loch, also a good count of 23 Gadwall. Eleven Tree Sparrows with 30 House Sparrows coming to grain in a Juniper Drive, Milton of Campsie garden. A Jay at Maudslie Estate, Rosebank NS8050.
Saturday Two Scaup (an immature male and a female) on Strathclyde Loch. Two Hen Harriers (an adult male and a ‘ringtail’) at the south end of Barr Loch, RSPB Lochwinnoch. A Brambling in a field at the south end of Twechar Marsh, near Kilsyth.
Social media sites
Facebook: To access the Clyde Birds Facebook page, administered by SOC member John Molloy, click on the link on the homepage of the Clyde Birds website (www.clydebirds.org.uk) and sign in with your personal Facebook logins.
Clyde Tetrad Atlas 2007-14
CLYDE ATLAS UPDATE 6 JUNE 2014
We are making this appeal in the hope that more Clyde Branch SOC members will volunteer to cover at least a single tetrad in the final season of this valuable project. Many thanks to those who have taken part so far. This is not a survey requiring great expertise - only basic identification skills are required, and we would hope that the project gives greater purpose and enjoyment to local birdwatching.
The Clyde SOC, with invaluable support from BTO, is now halfway through the final breeding season of the Project. Over seven years, 734 observers have gathered in excess of 300,000 records, an average of almost 7,000 records per 10-kilometre square, a tremendous achievement. We are well on our way to holding enough data to produce a comprehensive avifauna, Birds of the Clyde Area, including atlas maps for breeding and winter distribution of all species.
However we are struggling to achieve full coverage for the breeding season. It is almost always the case with such surveys that a small number of observers carries out a high percentage of the fieldwork, but currently we have fewer than ten Clyde SOC members contributing over 95% of the effort. This is simply not sufficient to achieve adequate coverage in the time left to us. So we are making this URGENT APPEAL for all members to contribute during the two months remaining of this final breeding season. In reality we have only five weeks to make the most of it, as recordable bird activity diminishes significantly after the first week in July, particularly in woodland.
Even if every member took on only one tetrad it could make a significant difference. (A ‘tetrad’ is a 2km x 2km square on the national grid as shown on OS maps, with each 10-kilometre square dividing into 25 tetrads.) Some may even find that records from around their own home could make a difference! An experienced birdwatcher can achieve reasonable coverage of an average tetrad in a single visit lasting two hours, whilst those who are new to the game may require longer, or perhaps two visits of a similar duration. However there is no time limit. Our most active and experienced atlas fieldworkers are currently completing four or five tetrads a day. The objective is to visit as many habitat types as possible within the tetrad (by foot, car or bike), noting all bird species and attempting to record behaviour indicative of breeding. The BTO Atlas website at http://blx1.bto.org/atlas/main/data-home.jsp?Refresh=true is where to find the methodology and to contribute results for the local atlas. You will require to log in or register to use the BTO website, a simple procedure. Note that Timed Tetrad Visits are not required for the Clyde Atlas, only Roving Records, which simplifies the fieldwork.
If you would like to help, local organiser Alan Wood will be happy to answer any questions, and can provide maps and up-to-date information about a tetrad urgently in need of attention near your home or local patch. Please contact Alan on email@example.com or by phone on 07799 433407. For anyone who would like to volunteer to cover remote tetrads in South Lanarkshire or northern parts of Loch Lomondside, more than 50 miles from their home, a vehicle allowance of 30p per mile is available, courtesy of an SOC Endowment Fund Grant. Alan Wood can provide you with a claim form if you volunteer to help in this way.
Some other Clyde tetrads can be found using these links to neighbouring
A Guide to Bird Watching in the Clyde Area
This publication is now sold out, however a reference copy is available in the George Waterston Library at SOC HQ.