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I’ve lived in Lanarkshire all of my 40 years, and in that time I have seen my local area change beyond all recognition, and definitely not for the better. From the appearance of massive identikit housing estates where rolling fields once rang to the song of yellowhammers, the inexorable process of urbanisation goes on as the local authorities undertake a concerted effort to eradicate every sign of nature- or so it seems. The nature- filled halcyon days of my childhood are a swiftly receding memory, replaced by the creeping horror of what is replacing them. Its important, I think, to highlight what we, as nature lovers in general and bird lovers in particular, still have, for the moment at least.
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Last chance to see.....

Posted Wednesday 18th May 2016 at 02:13 by Green Sandpiper
Its been a really bitty year, with birding restricted, and too many Sundays (my normal birding day) have been spent doing things I don't want to.

ANyway, last week found myself slightly demotivated at work and buggered off at 1pm, determined to get some birding in. I wouldn't say that it was pre- planned, but I did have binos in my bag.

Logistics, and a tip off from my birding mate Bluebill, meant I had to stay local. My targets were whitethroat and swift, with both being seen in the Uddingston/ Newton/ FinMeOot area.

First off, lots of sand martins on the River Clyde, plus various gulls basking on the rocks exposed by the low level of the river. Lots of warbler song, willow warblers and chiffs in abundance. Next to the green bridge on the clyde, got a blackcap singing- I waited patiently for it to show itself so I could confirm it was a blackcap not a garden warbler.

ACross the river, more warblers, I managed to see a pair of willow warblers mating, but didn't stay too long in case it was off- putting. A song thrush was skelping out the tunes from deep within the trees. The woods behind the toxic car breaker's yard were, for once, alive with the sound of birdsong. A pair of roe deer erupted form the undergrowth as I approached within 50 or so feet of them.

ACross the road, and down to Fin Me Oot. Guess what- loads of warblers.... High above the cattle field, I go eyes on a pair of wheeling, whirling dervishes. Binos confirmed a pair of swifts- first of the year, and a blessed relief.

A yelowhammer showed ridiculously well (and I mean, really, really well) on the path near the gate. Further down, where the village Hall used to be (so I've been told by someone who used to live there!) a whitethroat scratched out a half- hearted call, and I patiently waited to get a visual on not one, but a pair. Tick #2, job done.

Nothing moving on the Rotten Calder, which seems a lot cleaner than I remember. On the path up toward Newton, a further whitethroat popped up no more than 12 feet away. No camera with me, naturally. Lots more willowchiffs and blackcaps. A walk up to the bing failed to produce any sedgies, but did offer the hammer blow of just how far the 'Newton Farm' housing estate had encroached on what was previously a cracking wee patch. The scene of devastation was, well, devastating, and threatened to put a downer on the day. South Lanarkshire council seem intent on turning the county into a London cinque estate.

I gave myself a shake, though, and decided to enjoy what was there, while it was there. Skylarks larked about, warbler warbled, and midges feasted themselves on the untapped reservoir of scalp blood that has never previously been offered. Must get a hat....

The walk back got more of the same, plus three stoned eejits on the bridge with a disposable barbecue, marshamallows and sticks. Sometimes, its too surreal.

Got 2 year ticks, and a brilliant walk in the sunshine. I can't imagine there are too many summers left for that patch, unfortunately, but at least I can remember this as a decent afternoon out. Birding is made of memories. Lets store such sites and such days in our collective conscience.
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