Have a wild time dur­ing autumn

Wildlife ad­ven­tures for chil­dren

Hamilton Advertiser - - ALL ABOUT LANARKSHIRE - Staff re­porter

Keep the kids oc­cu­pied as the days grow shorter, with some free wood­land ad­ven­tures as part of the Clyde and Avon Val­ley Wildlife Cam­paign.

With prizes for the com­ple­tion of a wildlife spot­ting check­list as well as a 500-word cre­ative writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion, there are hours of free fun for chil­dren.

The cam­paign fo­cuses on one species per month – the ma­jes­tic salmon in Oc­to­ber, del­i­cate nuthatch in Novem­ber and the shy roe deer in De­cem­ber.

“Autumn is a great time to be out and about in the Clyde and Avon Val­ley,” said Chris Waltho, South La­nark­shire Coun­cil coun­try­side and greenspace ranger.

“The chang­ing colours and leaf fall in the woods can make it eas­ier to see the nuthatch and the deer.

“It is also a good time for a quiet river­side walk, es­pe­cially to watch from the bridges, for the pas­sage of the salmon to their spawn­ing grounds.”

Salmon can be seen leap­ing up­stream to spawn in autumn, and travel as far as Stonebyres Falls on the River Clyde.

A re­cent new­comer to the Clyde Val­ley, you’ll have to sit qui­etly to catch sight of a nuthatch. It is a small wood­pecker-like bird that hops up and down tree trunks look­ing for food and is the same size as a great tit. Keep your eyes peeled around parks and gar­dens where it nests in tree holes. Tempt them with peanuts, sun­flower hearts or a suet ball.

Roe deer are a much more com­mon sight in the Clyde and Avon Val­ley. A rel­a­tively small deer, roughly the size of a Labrador dog, it has a red­dish brown body with a black nose and white chin. Active mostly at night, look out for them in the early morn­ing or even­ing in any of the Clyde Val­ley wood­lands, but even in ur­ban ar­eas too.

The cam­paign is run­ning for the re­main­der of 2017, of­fer­ing the chance for chil­dren to find out more about wildlife, visit na­ture re­serves, take part in wildlife spot­ting events and help con­trib­ute to the irecord wildlife data­base.

Two com­pe­ti­tions are tak­ing place un­der the cam­paign, which can be en­tered by chil­dren aged 12 and un­der.

For the Clyde and Avon Val­ley Wildlife Chal­lenge, down­load and com­plete a species check­list to be awarded a cer­tifi­cate and en­tered into a spe­cial prize draw. Go on­line to www.clyde­an­davon­va­l­ley.org for the down­load.

And the Clyde and Avon Val­ley 500 Words Com­pe­ti­tion is open to chil­dren aged form five to nine and from 10 to 12.

Chil­dren are asked to write a fic­tional story or poem about species in un­der 500 words. Each en­trant will be awarded with cer­tifi­cate and be en­tered into a a spe­cial prize draw. Go to www. clyde­an­davon­va­l­ley.org to down­load the com­pe­ti­tion’s guide­lines and sub­mis­sion form.

The cam­paign fo­cuses on one species per month that can be found through­out the year in wood­lands such as Chatel­her­ault Coun­try Park, RSPB Scot­land Baron’s Haugh, Dalzell Es­tate and Scot­tish Wildlife Trust Falls of Clyde.

Up­com­ing events for young­sters in­clude a ‘Fas­ci­nat­ing Fungi’ walk at Dalzell Es­tate on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 15, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. You can book with the North La­nark­shire Coun­try­side Ranger Ser­vice on 01698 402 090.

A ‘Lit­tle Rot­ters’ event will be held at Baron’s Haugh, Mother­well, on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 18, from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Con­tact baron­shaugh@rspb.org.uk or 0141 331 0993 to book a ticket.

And there will be a guided walk at Baron’s Haugh on Satur­day, Novem­ber 11, from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Con­tact baron­shaugh@ rspb.org.uk or 0141 331 0993 to book a ticket.

The Clyde and Avon Val­ley is home to a fas­ci­nat­ing ar­ray of wildlife. It has the Clyde Val­ley Na­tional Na­ture Re­serve (NNR), one of the eco­log­i­cally rich­est ar­eas of Scot­land, as well as other spec­tac­u­lar wood­lands.

The wood­lands are of­ten hid­den in dra­matic river gorges, cre­at­ing rib­bons of wild land that lace the lo­cal land­scape where na­ture thrives.

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