Have a wild time during autumn
Wildlife adventures for children
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 email@example.com 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.