New births for Falls of Clyde falcons


THE Scottish Wildlife Trust is celebrating the birth of two peregrine falcon chicks (eyasses) and looking forward to one more, as two of the three eggs at the Falls of Clyde have hatched.

The births come ahead of a big weekend at the Visitor Centre, as on Sunday, May 6 it is hosting an Optics Fair in conjunction with Opticron. This will be the perfect weekend to visit the Falls of Clyde and see a wildlife spectacle in Scotland.

The peregrine falcons, the fastest creature in the world, have nested regularly at the Falls of Clyde in New Lanark since 1997.

Pergrines have nested on the site since 1997  Photo:Francisco M. Marzoa Alonso

The Trust’s Operation Peregrine protection programme has been going for 15 years. It provides strict 24-hour surveillance from egg thieves and wildlife criminals, so thousands of visitors can continue to enjoy the birds.

The three eggs were laid between the March 22 and 29. The first eyass was spotted yesterday and with one more egg still yet to hatch, staff, volunteers and visitors are waiting with baited breath to see if they can spot a bird of prey being born.

The People’s Postcode Lottery Peregrine Protection Officer at the Falls of Clyde has been coordinating a team of up to 20 staff members and volunteers who starting monitoring the peregrine nests in March and will continue until June.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Falls of Clyde Ranger, Laura Whitfield said: “I’m sure we’ll have many visitors over the coming days as everyone tries to spot the peregrines feeding the eyasses. We’d love to welcome people up to the watch site, just 60m away from the nest site on the other side of the gorge. The adults will pluck caught prey on one of their many plucking posts before landing on the eyrie to feed the chicks. Peregrines feed on small birds which they catch mid flight at high speed. Our male (or tiercel) has a preference for starlings and blackbirds.

“It is now even more important that the People‘s Postcode Lottery Peregrine Protection Officer and his team is in place to monitor the nest (also known as an eyrie). While the eyasses are young, they are vulnerable, but they will soon grow into strong young birds. I expect that the birds will fledge in approximately 6 to 7 weeks so come to the Falls of Clyde to see them today!”

Visitors hoping to see the newly hatched bird of prey may need a new pair of binoculars. At the Falls of Clyde Optics Fair on Sunday, a wide selection of optical equipment including binoculars, telescopes and monoculars will be available. An expert representative will be there from 10am to 4pm to answer any questions and offer advice.

Willie Buttery, the Falls of Clyde Visitor Centre Manager said: “Choosing new binoculars or telescopes is not an easy task and we want to help our visitors make the right decision for them. The Opticron representative will be on hand throughout the day to answer all those puzzling questions people may have about optical equipment. It’s brilliant because you can try out the binoculars in front of the spectacular river view. It’s important that people make the right choice for themselves. Once they’re kitted out, we’d encourage visitors to walk up the river to the peregrine nest site to get the best view possible of our newly hatched bird.”