Clyde Branch

© Ian Fulton

Taiga Bean Geese © Ian Fulton


Appeal for volunteers to help count Slavonian Grebe and Red-throated Diver on the Clyde Estuary

The status of many birds on the Clyde estuary has changed since the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) began as the Birds of Estuaries Enquiry (BoEE) in 1969. One group of birds which has increased significantly is divers and grebes.

Both Red-throated Diver and Slavonian Grebe now occur in nationally important numbers on the Inner Firth of Clyde. The Clyde is currently estimated to be the fourth most important site for Red-throated Diver in the UK (BTO/RSPB/JNCC WeBS Report 2012-13) and the area holds around 7% of the UK winter population of Slavonian Grebe making the Clyde estuary one of the top two sites in the UK for wintering Slavonian Grebes.

To maintain the known conservation status of the Clyde estuary for Slavonian Grebe and Red-throated Diver, it is vital that we obtain at least one relatively complete count each winter. This is an appeal to SOC members and others to take advantage of a good day between now and early April to attempt to count these two species.

Please click here for more information and guidance on the ideal conditions to carry out your count and for a suggested survey route.


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!  If you are interested in joining the team either as a regular or stand-in volunteer, please contact the Clyde area organiser, John Clark on 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


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:

*CHANGE OF DATE* 13 Apr 2015        AGM & Members’ Night


Ian Fulton

0141 773 4329


Branch outings

None planned.


Bernie Zonfrillo

0141 557 0791


About the branch

Branch committee


Ian Fulton



Vice Chairperson:

Bernie Zonfrillo

Treasurer and representative of the branch on SOC Council:

David Clugston

Committee members:

Liz Parsons, Toby Wilson, Alan Wood, Fiona Morton, Sandra Hutchinson

Ex officio members:

Iain Gibson and Val Wilson

Clyde recorder:

Iain Gibson

Clyde Islands recorder:

Bernie Zonfrillo

Argyll recorder:

Jim Dickson


Useful information

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

Weekly Summary 15 – 21 March 2015 

Sunday 15 March
A 1st-winter Iceland Gull on the River Leven at Balloch.
A Jack Snipe in the marsh at Barnsford Bridge NS468677.
16 Whooper Swans at Candrens Farm with a total of 580 Greylags and 150 Pink-footed Geese between there and Barnsford Bridge.
21 Whooper Swans on Loch Libo, near Uplawmoor.
20 Tree Sparrows and 20 Yellowhammers at the feeders of Blackstone Mains Cottage.
Still four Sand Martins at Strathclyde Loch.
A male Black Grouse near Helensburgh at NS330823.
A female Blackcap again in a Glen Drive, Helensburgh garden.
A female Blackcap in a Leathen Place, Linburn, Erskine garden.
A male and a female Blackcap coming to feeders in a Strathblane Road, Milngavie garden.

Monday 16 March
A 1st-winter Iceland Gull on Loch Lomond near Maid of the Loch, Balloch.
Five Tree Sparrows and 16 Yellowhammers at North Commonside Farm.
Three Redshanks at Paisley Cross.
60 Lesser Redpolls coming to feeders in a Foxbar Road, Paisley garden.
A female Blackcap still in a Glen Drive, Helensburgh garden.

Tuesday 17 March
A drake Smew again on Barr Loch, RSPB Lochwinnoch; nearby. five Brambling in Garthland Wood.
A drake and female Scaup on Castle Semple Loch.
Two Stock Doves in a Blacader Drive, Garloch Village, Glasgow garden.
The two Stock Doves continue in a Hillfoot Drive, Bearsden garden.

Iceland Gull, Ian Fulton

Iceland Gull, Ian Fulton

Wednesday 18 March
67 Slavonian Grebes, a drake Long-tailed Duck, a female Common Scoter, 27 Red-throated Divers, 52 Great Crested Grebes and unusually two drake Tufted Ducks off Ardmore.
36 Red-throated Divers and 43 Black Guillemots off Custom House Quay, Greenock.
A 1st-winter Iceland Gull at Lomond Shores, Balloch.
A drake Smew still on Barr Loch RSPB Lochwinnoch.
Two Black-tailed Godwits in the field pools at Longhaugh Point.
287 Pink-footed Geese with Greylags on Black Cart Water SPA between Easter Yonderton and Barnsford Bridge.
Two Tree Sparrows at Millichen Steadings and a Woodcock at the flood.
Four Mandarin Ducks (three drakes) still on River Leven at Jamestown.
A female Golden Pheasant (of unknown origin) at feeders in a Biggar garden.


Golden Pheasant, Biggar

Thursday 19 March
An adult Little Gull at Newshot Island before flying downstream at 1135 hrs.
A Green Sandpiper on Endrick Water SE of Croftamie, also a pair of Stonechats.
Four Redshank by the White Cart Water at Paisley Cross.
A singing Chiffchaff at Blythswood, Renfrew.
A singing Chiffchaff at Marsh Hide, RSPB Baron’s Haugh, also a Water Rail showing well.
A singing Chiffchaff at Roman Fort, Strathclyde Country Park.

Friday 20 March
A Barn Owl at Old Greenock Road near the entrance to Linburn, Erskine at 2000 hrs.

Saturday 21 March
A drake Smew still on Barr Loch, RSPB Lochwinnoch.
A 1st-winter Iceland Gull on the River Leven at Balloch.
A Chiffchaff in song at Bargarran Wood, Erskine.


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 ( and sign in with your personal Facebook logins.


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.


Bird recording in this area

Visit the Clyde recording area and the Clyde Islands recording area page for details of the latest bird report, back issues, species considered locally and for Local Recorder contact information.


Other information

Clyde Bird Report Highlights 2004

Clyde – bird species list 1999

Clyde – bird species list 1998

Clyde – review of the year 1999

Clyde – review of the year 1998

Clyde Bird News No. 1 (Dec 2001)

Clyde Eider Newsletter No. 1 (Aug 2001)

Clyde Eider Newsletter No. 2 (Jan 2002)

Clyde Eider Newsletter No. 3 (Aug 2002)

Clyde Eider Newsletter No. 4 (Aug 2003)

Clyde Eider Newsletter No. 5 (Aug 2004)

Young Birders CTA

Download the young Birder Application form - Word Doc
Download the training course application form - PDF
Contact Us
Find Out More