Thursday 11 May 2023

Greenock, River Clyde, Scotland

Wednesday 10 May

Scotland; home to some very generous, hospitable and kind people. Early morning and time to disembark and investigate the lovely little town of Greenock on the western end of the Clyde, approximately an hour's distance before Glasgow. But with some persistent light rain and a cold wind at times it was eventually 11 by the time we finally disembarked in the dry.  Stating our walk westwards to the old town Jenny popped into Lidl's for some shortbread whilst I studied the history trail map in the foyer.  Thinking we must be just about opposite the old Customs House I checked with a local shopper on his way out.  

No sooner had he confirmed the exact building than he enquired if we off a cruise ship and asked would I like him to show me some of the hills and lochs above the town as he had to go there to deliver some goods to his son's cafe and then spare us an hour before returning us to the town itself.  Naturally, I mentioned I was with my wife and he was only too pleased o take us both if we didn't mind travelling in his white van which he used for his grass-cutting business.  No problem; and so we set off.

Lochs above Greenock

As we left the town and drive up the narrow roads on to the moors we soon recorded a Blackbird and both Magpies and Woodpigeon and as we entered the barren, but green, landscape both Carrion and Hooded Crows before a score of Jackdaw. A Barn Swallow passed by the van.

Then we were passing alongside and overlooking a range of lochs and as we drove alongside first a female Red-breasted Merganser followed by the first Canada Geese.  Also on or near the waters both Black-headed and Herring Gulls.  Then we were at the cafe for a welcome cup of coffee and greeted by a pair of Mallards hoping for some free food if the chickens were to be fed!

Red-breasted Mergansers Mergus serrator

Suitably refreshed we took the narrow twisting track up to a high point with glorious views over the Clyde and neighbouring hills.  At least a couple of Wheatear were put up and a Skylark was delivering its tuneful song from above.  Time to move on and return past the cafe to take a road to the east, still atop the hills and lochs. A Herring Gull passed over and then we stopped to watch a hunting Goshawk; what a magnificent sight.  Then, crossing the loch, a pair pf displaying Common Sandpipers immediately in front of us. At this point I ought to point out that thinking we would only be walking within the town that this was the first day in four that I had taken neither bins nor camera with me!  But I did have the phone for views.

On the way down from some marvellous views

Continuing on down we once again observed all the previous corvids and then a small flock of Starling plus a Stonechat that had been feeding near the side of the road. Our final viewpoint was overlooking the river and neighbouring Gourock.  It was here that we then recorded both a Robin and Chiffchaff.  And so back down to Greenock and the James Watt Museum with a Blue Tit exiting the grounds and a couple of House Sparrows on the wall outside.  What an absolute pleasure and so many special thanks to Raymond Kirkpatrick for his time and generosity.  A great pleasure to meet you.

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mallard, Red-breasted Merganser, Goshawk, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Skylark,  Barn Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Wheatear, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Hooded Crow, Starling, House Sparrow. 

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