Thursday, 26 May 2011

Mugdock Country Park, East Dunbartonshire

I joined West Dunbartonshire's Over 50's Walking Group on a trip to Mugdock Country Park where there are ancient 'bluebell woods' and the opportunity to see a variety of warblers!

We walked northwest from Mugdock Country Park Visitor Centre through mixed woodland near the Craigallian & Carbeth Lochs and followed the path along the western edge of Craigallian Loch to the deciduous woodland to the south. Then we took the track leading eastwards to the grounds of Craigend Castle (and the ruins of Craigend Zoo) and returned to the visitor centre.

In the woods northwest of Mugdock Castle we passed an old, rotten tree in which there was a Great Spotted Woodpecker's nesthole - the young could be heard peeping. Soon after, one of the parents was sighted nearby.

Willow Warblers sang from every scrubby tree as we entered a marshy clearing to the east of the Carbeth & Craigallian Lochs. Here we saw a pair of Roe Deer run down the hillside and a Grey Heron which flew over and made an ungracious and unsuccessful attempt to land on top of a tall pine.

Suddenly, a large, long-winged bird of prey glided past us through the clearing in the direction of Carbeth Loch: an Osprey!

Definitely the highlight of the day for me, as I have never seen one of these birds so close to home.

On the path around Craigallian Loch we heard the singing of Sedge Warblers concealed amongst the vegetation: their song is a fast, frenetic (slightly crazy) warble full of harsh cackles and chattering.

Ancient woodland (south of the visitor centre)

In the woods surrounding Craigend Castle we could hear the songs of both Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers. We also saw a pair of Treecreepers.

Beech tree (Fagus sylvestris)
Distribution transformer on telegraph poles
Bistort (Persicaria bistorta)

Bistort leaves are the main ingredient of Dock pudding (also known as Easter Ledge Pudding), a fried dish traditionally eaten during Lent in Yorkshire (where the World Dock Pudding Competition is held each April in Calderdale), Cumberland and the Lake District.

Dock Pudding Recipes:

Dock Pudding Recipe from BBC Food

Assorted Dock Pudding Recipes from

Vegetarian Dock Pudding Recipe from

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