Clyde Branch

© Ian Fulton

Taiga Bean Geese © Ian Fulton


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:

01 Feb 2016 – “Breeding waders of the Uist machair: Land use and predators, past, present and future”, with John Calladine, Senior Research Ecologist, BTO Scotland

The west coast habitats of the Uists hold concentrations of breeding waders that are exceptional in Scottish, British and wider European contexts. Observed declines in wader populations on South Uist and Benbecula since the 1980s were argued to be largely due to predation of clutches by introduced hedgehogs. This argument, supported by evidence from the effects of their experimental removal, led to an ongoing programme of hedgehog removal. Concern remained however that breeding populations of some waders did not show the signs of recovery that might be expected in response to hedgehog control. This talk will present some of the findings of recent work investigating associations of changes in breeding wader densities with land uses and new work on the full suite of predators affecting machair waders. Future implications for conservation will be discussed. 

John has had a lifelong interest birds and natural history and has worked in ecological research and conservation for over 30 years. Currently based at Stirling University, John’s particular interests lie in the impacts of land uses on bird populations and distribution.

07 Mar 2016 – Innes Sim – Ring Ouzel conservation
04 Apr 2016 –  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


David Clugston

Representative of the branch on SOC Council:

Iain Gibson

Committee members:

Liz Parsons, Toby Wilson, Alan Wood, Fiona Morton, Sandra Hutchinson and David Palmar

Ex officio members:

Iain Gibson and Val Wilson

Clyde recorder:

Iain Gibson

Clyde Assistant recorder:

Val Wilson

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 3 – 9 January 2016  

Ring-billed Gull by Keith Hoey

Ring-billed Gull by Keith Hoey

Sunday 3 January
A 1st-winter Glaucous Gull back on Loch Long at Arrochar.
A drake Green-winged Teal still on Banton Loch, Kilsyth.
A drake Ruddy Duck still on Garnqueen Loch.
A Barnacle Goose with Pinkfeet and Greylags at Boclair Farm, Bearsden. WMT

Monday 4 January
Three Little Auks on Strathclyde Loch late afternoon with 20 “argentatus” Herring Gulls at the roost, also an adult Ring-billed Gull at midday.
One Little Auk on the River Leven at Balloch, also six Mandarin Ducks, and the 1st-winter Velvet Scoter on Loch Lomond nearby.
A Firecrest feeding amongst rhododendrons near the flatted mansion in Queen’s Park, Glasgow.
A 1st-winter Glaucous Gull still on Loch Long at Arrochar.
A drake Green-winged Teal still on Banton Loch, Kilsyth and unusually a drake Red-Breasted Merganser.
Three Barnacle Geese at Boclair Farm, Bearsden.
Six Ring-necked Parakeets in a tree beside the clubhouse of Bishopbriggs Golf Course.
A Brambling, six Tree Sparrows and thirty Yellowhammers in a mixed flock of passerines at KIrkintilloch.
Unusually a Greenland White-fronted Goose with 450 Greylags at The Meetings, Carnwath.
Eleven Whooper Swans at Douglas Water Pool (Loudon Pond) also 2,000 Pink-footed Geese at
Douglas Water.

Tuesday 5 January
Up to 10 Little Auks at the south end of Loch Lomond at Balloch  in the morning, with two off Lomond Shores in the afternoon, also one on River Leven coming off the water, also the Velvet Scoter still present and up to six Mandarin Ducks in the area.
A Little Auk flying west past Erskine at 1120 hrs, (three there yesterday), later singles at Erskine Bridge Hotel and Newshot Island, the latter flying off inland.
A Little Auk flying down river pas SECC at 1245 hrs, but taken by one of the pair of Peregrines on Stobcross Crane, also a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers present.
A Little Auk at Cart/Clyde confluence at 1330 hrs.
Later two Liitle Auks west past Newark Castle, Port Glasgow at 1425 hrs.
Two Little Auks from Erskine and Neilston taken into care by Hessilhead, released in evening
An adult Ring-billed Gull still at Strathclyde Country Park and a female Scaup, but no Little Auks
.A 1st-winter Glaucous Gull still on Loch Long at Arrochar.
A female Scaup on Castle Semple Loch.
Still at least two Hen Harriers (one male) at Whittliemuir, near Howwood.
A  Nuthatch on top of a tree near the flatted mansion in Queen’s Park, Glasgow, but no sign of the Firecrest.
A pair of Ravens feeding on a dead squirrel on a busy street in urban Langside, Glasgow.

Little Auk by Robert Allison

Little Auk by Robert Allison

Wednesday 6 January
A Little Auk on Bute found in a doorway at Rothesay sea front was later released after advice from Hessilhead.
A single Little Auk off Lomond Shores flying off at 1030 hrs, with at least three Mandarin Ducks nearby.
An adult Ring-billed Gull still at Strathclyde Loch off car park 4 at 1400 hrs.
A Green Sandpiper still at BAE Systems, Bishopton.
A Jay at Glade Pond, Pollok Country Park.
A flock of 17 Crossbills at Gryfe Reservoirs, feeding on larch cones.
A Barn Owl flying over A737 at Howwood at 2357 hrs.

Thursday 7 January
Two Little Auks on Loch Lomond at Balloch in the morning, not seen later, but a Great Northern Diver present.
A ringtail Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl at Barr Loch, RSPB Lochwinnoch in the afternoon; nearby, two pairs of Gadwall and five Shoveler on Aird Meadow.
Two Crossbills at BAE Systems, Bishopton.
A Woodcock over Barrhead Road near Silverburn, Glasgow.
A Velvet Scoter on River Leven at Balloch.
A Merlin at Gryfe Reservoir.
45 Gadwall on Woodend Loch, Coatbridge.

Friday 8 January
A Great Northern Diver still on Loch Lomond off Inchmurrin, also a colour-ringed Shag and a dead Little Auk on River Leven.
Two Slavonian Grebes, three Greenshank and a drake Scaup at Cardross Bay.
Four Jack Snipe at BAE Systems, Bishopton.
A drake Ruddy Duck still on Garnqueen Loch.
Two drake Red-breasted Mergansers on River Clyde at Riverside Museum.
A Nuthatch on the feeders at the walled gardens in Pollok Country Park.
A female Otter and two cubs on Black Cart Water at Yonderton.

Great Northern Diver by David Mitchell

Great Northern Diver by David Mitchell

Saturday 9 January
An adult Yellow-legged Gull still coming to roost on Balgray Reservoir at 1515 hrs, with a 1st-winter Mediterranean Gull and an excellent winter count of 650 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, also 250 Pink-footed Geese north over.
An adult Ring-billed Gull still at Strathclyde Loch at midday, later an adult Iceland Gull again at the roost.
A drake Green-winged Teal still on Banton Loch, Kilsyth.
A 1st-winter Velvet Scoter still on River Leven at Balloch.
StiIl two pairs of Gadwall and six Shoveler on Aird Meadow, RSPB Lochwinnoch, also a female Brambling at the feeders.
A Woodcock and a pair of Stonechats at Cathkin Marsh SWT Reserve.
A Tree Sparrow in an Iona Ridge, Hamilton garden.


Minutes from the 2015 Clyde Branch AGM

Click here to download a copy of the minutes from the recent Clyde Branch AGM.


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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