Friday, 20 March 2009

Kilpatrick Hills, West Dunbartonshire

Today's walk took me from Duntocher to Darnycaip and the Black Linn Reservoir via the Humphrey Reservoir, then over the Saughen Braes to the Burncrooks Reservoir, down the Burn Crooks valley, over Stockiemuir and finally to Carbeth.

Mainly, I was on the lookout for lekking Black Grouse, but I also wanted to check the lochs and reservoirs for displaying Great Crested Grebes.

There was a thick mist reducing visibility to a few metres and until it cleared there was little chance of seeing much wildlife. As I was sitting at Darnycaip, a pair of Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix); a male and female; flew over the Black Linn. I explored the area and found some grouse footprints and droppings.

At Burncrooks I stopped for a coffee: by then it was becoming very warm and the sun was beating down. I decided to walk down Burn Crooks valley, a thickly forested valley without a path: it took much longer than I had anticipated due to the dense vegetation. The trees are a mixture of Birch, Ash and Willow (perhaps some Alder too?) and some were very old and gnarly.

Burncrooks Reservoir
Burncrooks Reservoir

Plenty of Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) on Stockiemuir but no Black Grouse.

On the A809, below the Queen's View, there was a large, dead Otter (Lutra lutra) on the road. Sadly, this dangerous road claims many victims: every few minutes I came across a dead pheasant or rabbit as I walked to Carbeth. At least I know for sure that there are Otters in the area.

It got dark before I managed to find my way to Milngavie train station and I ended up getting lost. I managed to hitch a ride to the train station (waving my phone in the dark like a beacon!) and caught a bus from Bearsden back to Duntocher.