Hello there everyone, my name is Paul Gunn and I’m the new assistant warden for Baron’s Haugh and Airds moss reserves. I come to the role having spent the last 3 years within the RSPB as Community Greenspace Officer for the ‘Giving Nature a Home in Glasgow’ project and the year previous to this with Buglife as Parks and Pollinators Officer. These positions have seen me working all over Glasgow and a few sites in Stirling, but as a Lanarkshire lad (Viewpark native...hide your silverware) it’s great to have this opportunity to put the skills and experience I’ve gained over the years to use, right here at home!

The first couple of weeks have flown by and there has been much to do at both reserves. Along with the fantastic baron’s haugh Thursday volunteer group, we continued our work along the walkways, clearing the encroaching vegetation from the path network. We’ve been dispatching any stands of Himalayan balsam we encounter as well, and cleared the overhanging scrub from the sluice gate to help keep the access route clear. The water level has since been lowered to expose more mud for passing waders, so we’ll hopefully start to see more of the likes of lapwing and green sandpiper which have been spotted over the course of the last few weeks in the wettest, muddiest bits.

  

Volunteers clearing the sluice gate

 Andrew in the distance, strimming away

In addition to the volunteer sessions, we’ve also had some lovely summer events in the...‘changeable’ scottish weather. Local volunteer and bio-recorder Michael Pink came out to help us with a wildflower walk on Saturday 15 July and, all in, we found a total of 63 species in 2 hours. Not bad.

30 species and an hour later, we made it out of the car-park

One of the more eye-catching finds of the day was the ‘woody nightshade’ (Solanum dulcamara), and as my eye is always drawn to everything ‘invertebrate’, we also came across a lovely forest bug (Pentatoma rufipes).

Woody nightshade, poisonous but beautiful                                          

 
Forest bug; feeds on fruits and caterpillars of other insects

Next on the agenda for baron’s haugh are the following listed events, so come along and experience this hidden gem of a reserve in the heart of Motherwell.

  • Pollinator Patrol – Wednesday 26th of July, 1pm-3pm

  • Stream Guddling – Wednesday 9th August, 10.30am-12.30am

  • Creatures of the night – Friday 11th August, 8.30pm-10.30pm

I’ll see you there...

All the best,

Paul


Anonymous