Sunday, 21 March 2010

Kilpatrick Hills, West Dunbartonshire

Winter lingers on...the hills are almost flowerless and scattered with snow patches. Today I walked from Duntocher to the Mohican Woods (above the old curling pond), to Duncolm and then the Kilmannan Reservoir. The sky remained dark and overcast throughout the day but the rain held off.

Rusty metal
At the Eastern end of the Mohican Woods I put up 2 Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola) which were sitting silently amongst the leaf litter. The ground was scattered with their barred feathers. Soon after, I disturbed a Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus).

The forest floor was covered with the yellowish-green flowers of Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium).

Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium)
Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage (Chrysosplenium oppositifolium) 

Oops! I previously misidentified the above plant, assuming it to be young specimens of Sun Spurge.

At the top of the Mohican Woods, a flock of 12 Common Crossbills (Loxia curvirostra) landed on a Larch tree close to the path. They began feeding on the Larch cones and it struck me how large they are (for finches) and also, how strangely parrot-like.

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
I investigated the recently-felled pine forest (forestry commission) between Duncolm and the Kilmannan Reservoir. Piles of white bags ominously printed in red with 'Pesticide Treated', turned out to be filled with sapling trees (mixed native species) awaiting planting. Part of a native forest restoration project??

The roots of the upturned/felled trees formed 2 metres-high, earthen/turf wall along the edge of the forest:

On the Kilmannan there was a small flock of Goldeneye (Bucephalus clangula) and a pair of Mallards (Anas platyrynchos).

In the nearby pine forest I found a recently erected nestbox which, judging by the size of entrance, is intended for a large bird species (goldeneye? owls?).