Birdwatching in Greater Glasgow & The Clyde Valley

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  • A bird-of prey in level flight with wings extended
    The hen harrier (image courtesy of RSPB/ Andy Hay - rspb-images.com)
  • a bright green and orange, long-beaked bird sits on a branch
    The kingfisher (image courtesy of RSPB/ Mike Richards - rspb-images.com)

Although dominated by Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, and the associated urban spread,  Glasgow & The Clyde Valley as a region offers an appealling range of birdwatching opportunies.

In the city

In the city itself, Queen’s Park, Pollok Country Park, Possil Marsh and Hogganfield Park (where more than 100 species of bird have been recorded) are good starting points for twitchers. However, it's in the nature reserves and parks across the region that the best birdwatching can be found.

Nature reserves and parks

Situated within the Clyde-Muirshiel Regional Park, the RSPB nature reserve at Lochwinnoch is one of the few remaining wetland sites in west Scotland. The visitor centre, with its viewing tower and telescopes, gives good views over the marshland and loch where in the winter you may see a wide variety of wildfowl and goosanders. In the spring, great crested grebes and lapwings can be seen displaying and sedge warblers can be heard singing in the marshland.

The reserve is ideal for all the family, as the trails, birdwatching hides and visitor centre are easily accessible. A programme of events is run throughout the year.

Also with the regional park, Muirshiel Visitor Centre is a Special Protection Area of international importance for its breeding population of hen harriers, one of Britains rarest birds of prey. Here, you'll get the chance to see the harriers either on  the heather moors or live on CCTV in the centre during the breeding season (usually May - August ).

At the Falls of Clyde in Lanarkshire, part of the World Heritage Site at New Lanark, you can walk on trails through the woods to see many kinds of birds (such as five species of tit, several warblers, spotted flycatcher, great spotted woodpecker and tawny owl) and of course, take time to appreciate the stunning falls.

Downstream on the River Clyde, more than 170 species of birds have been recorded at Baron's Haugh nature reserve near Motherwell including kingfishers by the river and whooper swans on the flooded meadows (haugh) during the winter.

Strathclyde Country Park, 1,000 acres of mature woodlands, wetlands, wildlife refuges and neat open parkland, set around Strathclyde Loch, also provides unique bird and nature watching opprtunities.

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