Autumnal wildlife adventures with the Clyde and Avon Valley Wildlife Campaign

Can you spot a salmon, nuthatch and deer?

Filed under News
Date posted: Thursday, 05 October 2017

Keep the kids occupied as the days grow shorter, with some fun and free woodland adventures as part of the Clyde and Avon Valley Wildlife Campaign.

Offering prizes for completion of a wildlife spotting checklist as well as a 500 Words creative writing competition, the campaign offers 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.

Leaping salmon, Malcolm Muir
Leaping salmon, Malcolm Muir

Look out for the iconic Scottish fish which can be seen leaping upstream to spawn in autumn. Salmon travel as far at 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. A small woodpecker-like bird that hops up and down tree trunks looking for food and 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 duration of 2017, offering the chance for children to find out more about local wildlife, visit local nature reserves, take part in wildlife spotting events and help contribute to the iRecord wildlife database.

Nuthatch, John Anderson
Nuthatch, John Anderson

Two competitions are taking place under the campaign which can be entered by children ages 12 and under, listed below:

The Clyde and Avon Valley Wildlife Challenge #CAVWChallenge:

Download and complete the 12 species checklist to be awarded a certificate and entered into a special prize draw.  Join in with wildlife spotting events as listed below, download your own spotting guides and enter your findings to iRecord here. Downloads are available under 'other resources' on this page. Join in the conversation on social media using #CAVWChallenge. 

The Clyde and Avon Valley 500 Words Competition:

Open to children ages 5 - 9 and 10 – 12, children are invited to pick one of the 12 species as listed below, to write a fictional story or poem about in under 500 words. Each entrant will be awarded with a certificate and be entered into a special prize draw. Entries will be judged on originality, plot, characterisation, language and enjoyment by a panel of expert judges: CA Hope (author of the New Lanark trilogy), the Lanark Writers Group and South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture. Download the 500 Words Competition full guidelines and submission form under 'Other Resources'.

The #CAVWChallenge spotting events for October – December are as follows:

  • Fascinating Fungi at North Lanarkshire Council Dalzell Estate, Sunday 15 October, 1:30 – 3:30pm. Book with the North Lanarkshire Countryside Ranger Service on 01698 402 090
  • Little Rotters at Baron’s Haugh, Motherwell, Wednesday 18 October, 10:30am – 12:30pm. £4 for adults, £2 for children, or FREE to RSPB members. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0141 331 0993 to book a ticket
  • Winter arrivals guided walk at Baron’s Haugh, Motherwell, Saturday 11 November, 10:30am – 12:30pm. £4 for adults, £2 for children, or FREE to RSPB members. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0141 331 0993 to book a ticket
Roe deer, John Anderson
Roe deer, John Anderson

The campaign focusses on one species per month that can be found throughout the year in local woodlands such as Chatelherault Country Park, RSPB Scotland Baron’s Haugh, Dalzell Estate and Scottish Wildlife Trust Falls of Clyde. The species for the full calendar year are goosander, otter, great spotted woodpecker, kingfisher, badger, blue tailed damselfly, pipistrelle bat, candlesnuff fungus, comma butterfly, nuthatch, roe deer and salmon.

The Clyde and Avon Valley is home to a fascinating array of wildlife. The area is home to 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.

“Autumn is a great time to be out and about in the Clyde and Avon Valley,” says Chris Waltho, South Lanarkshire Council Countryside and Greenspace.

He continues, “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 bridges, for the passage of the salmon to their spawning grounds.”

For full details of the events, visit the events page.

The Clyde and Avon Valley Wildlife Challenge and 500 Words Competition must be entered by Sunday 31 December 2017. The campaign is a partnership project between Heritage Lottery Fund and Lanarkshire LEADER supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership, North Lanarkshire Council, RSPB Baron's Haugh, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Wildlife Trust Falls of Clyde and South Lanarkshire Countryside Rangers. Find out the full details for the campaign here.

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