Clyde branch

© Ian Fulton

Taiga Bean Geese © Ian Fulton


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.


The following Mondays at 7.30pm

01 Dec 2014        “An excursion to Shetland”, with David Palmar

Red-throated Diver © David Palmar

Red-throated Diver © David Palmar,

David Palmar has been taking photos since the age of 15, and before he retired was first a Geography teacher then a Computing teacher.
He is a well-known Glasgow bird photographer and runs a photographic website
With his wife he has been to almost every inhabited island in Shetland, which is a top birding destination.
This diverse island group stretches from Sumburgh Head in the south to Muckle Flugga in the north, and from Foula in the west to Out Skerries in the east.
This illustrated talk will cover some aspects of seabirds, moorland birds and otters as well as scenery and some geology and rare plants.

05 Jan 2015        Toby Wilson – House Sparrows in Glasgow: Where are they and what do they need?

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


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, Dawn Anderson, 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 16 – 22 November 2014 

Sunday A Slavonian Grebe again on Barr Loch, RSPB Lochwinnoch, also 12 Whooper Swans, a pair of Gadwall and a pair of Stonechats.Three Barnacle Geese with about 200 Canada Geese near Reivoch Farm NS3956. No apparent sign of the Black Redstart at Lochcraig Reservoir, but still a Brambling at South Moorhouse Farm. Two Rock Pipits and a Chiffchaff at Newshot Island. 350 Skylarks in a stubble field at Town of Inchinnan Farm. A juvenile White-tailed Eagle again at Watermeetings, near Elvanfoot NS954133.

© White-tailed Eagle, Keith Hoey

© White-tailed Eagle, Keith Hoey

Monday A Red-necked Grebe (fourth record for island) at St Ninian’s Bay, Isle of Bute, also a Great Northern Diver and a Grey Plover. A Great Northern Diver and two Red-throated Divers at Scalpsie Bay, Isle of Bute. Three drake Mandarin Ducks displaying to a female on the River Leven at Balloch. 40 Tree Sparrows at Blackstone Mains Cottage.

30 Snow Buntings near Dumgoyne, Campsies NS5482 Tuesday A Red-necked Grebe still at St Ninian’s Bay, Isle of Bute. The ringed juvenile White-tailed Eagle again at Watermeetings, Elvanfoot, before flying off on the direction of Daer Reservoir at 1230 hrs. A Slavonian Grebe again on Barr Loch, RSPB Lochwinnoch, also 49 Goosanders and 19 Whooper Swans at dusk. A Snow Bunting feeding on the shore at Kildonan, Arran. A Jack Snipe at Windlaw Marsh, near Carmunnock, also a pair of Stonechats. Two Tree Sparrows in a Dalmore Crescent, Helensburgh garden, observer’s first record there. A Woodcock at Black Linn Reservoir, west Kilpatrick Hills NS4477. 54 Goosanders on Long Loch, near Neilston. A Peregrine caught once again on camera at Erskine Bridge. Wednesday Slavonian Grebe again on Barr Loch, RSPB Lochwinnoch, also a ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier.
A female Mandarin Duck on the River Leven at Balloch. 27 Golden Plovers at Strathclyde Loch. Thursday Slavonian Grebe still on Barr Loch, RSPB Lochwinnoch.  Two Green Sandpipers at BAE Systems, Bishopton. Four Twite and a Wheatear on the south side of Ardmore, also an immature female Peregrine. Three Jack Snipe with 48 Snipe at Windlaw Marsh, near Carmunnock, also an adult male Peregrine. 48 Red-throated Divers and 25 Black Guillemots off Custom House Quay, Greenock. Three drake Mandarin Ducks displaying to a single female on the River Leven at Balloch. 18 Gadwall on Hogganfield Loch. At least one Tree Sparrow still coming to the feeders in a Dalmore Crescent, Helensburgh garden. A Woodcock flushed on Inchcailloch. Friday 21 November
Slavonian Grebe still on Barr Loch, RSPB Lochwinnoch, also six Gadwall. A Knot on the shore in front of the Kinloch Hotel, Blackwaterfoot, Arran. A female Mandarin Duck on the River Leven at Balloch. A Chiffchaff in a Westerlands, Anniesland, Glasgow garden. Saturday A Little Egret flying over Castle Semple Loch in the direction of Barr Loch in the afternoon. A ‘ringtail’ Hen Harrier quartering over Aird Meadow, RSPB Lochwinnoch at midday. 13 Jack Snipe (eight ringed) with at least 40 Snipe at Windlaw Marsh near Carmunnock, also three Stonechats. Two Tree Sparrows in a Blacader Drive, Gartloch Village, Glasgow garden is observer’s first record in six years.

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.

Clyde Tetrad Atlas 2007-14


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 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 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
BTO regions:

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
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