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City Parks | Hogganfield Park

Hogganfield Park

Hogganfield Park is just two miles from the centre of Glasgow, and is close to one of Scotland's biggest housing estates.

It seems an unlikely setting to find interesting nature but this is one of the best urban wildlife spots in the country.

 

Hogganfield Park - mecca for winter birds and mammals


Hogganfield was once a conventional city park with tea rooms, a pitch and putt and a boating lake.

But in the last 15 years the park has been transformed into a nature reserve and now it's teeming with great things to see from the run of the mill to some real exotica.

Today Hogganfield is Glasgow's most important location for migrant and wintering waterbirds.

GoosanderGorgeous Goosander

One of the main attractions of the park is Hogganfield Loch which is excellent for bird watching.

A wide range of birds visit the loch, and more than 100 different species have been recorded at the site.

It's a great place for bird watching in winter because
most of the birds are used to the presence of people so you can see them at close quarters.

Look carefully and you'll see some interesting birds including Goldeneye, with a bright yellow eye and distinctive white patch on its cheek, Whooper Swans from Iceland, Tufted Duck and Teal.

Dozens of people come to Hogganfield to feed the ducks on the loch that was once a boating lake.

It's also the winter home of one of our most elegant wildfowl - the Goosander.

The male birds are white with greenish-black heads and striking red beaks whilst the females are mainly grey with a brown neck and head.

Goosander means 'diving goose' which is a bit confusing because these birds are members of the Sawbill family and are actually ducks!

These are not the kind of bird you'd normally find in a city park - generally they're found on upland rivers and large lakes, especially in the North of England, Scotland and Wales.

But in winter they prefer a bit of shelter as well as a nature haven with plentiful food.

Because Hogganfield is a hotspot for feeding ducks, small fish come to feed on the scraps - and the Goosanders in tum feast on the fish.

Visitors to the park can see the Goosanders preening themselves to keep their waterproof coat in top condition before diving down for a couple of minutes to find food.

The Jack Snipe

Jack SnipeIn winter the park is also home to a very elusive little bird - the Jack Snipe which lives away from the main trawl.

Ninety per cent of the UK's birds are found in Scotland - and Hogganfield Park in the centre of Glasgow is a real hotspot for birders.

The Jack Snipe prides itself on being a master of camouflage - these secretive birds are perfectly suited to life in the park's marsh areas.

They hunker down in the grass and are so well disguised and confident in their abilities to deceive passers-by that you can almost stand on them before they'll fly off.

Wet meadows and damp areas in grazed fields are perfect Jack Snipe territory.

These are birds that you are normally associated with the wastelands of Scandinavia and Russia, so it's a real thrill to see them in a city centre park in Glasgow.

Wildlife habitats

BullrushesThis whole of Hogganfield Park has been turned over to wildlife and there is a range of habitats including grasslands which boast 100 flowering species in the summer.

Its woodlands are full of native Scottish trees including Oak trees which support a vast array of insect species.

In complete contrast visitors can also explore the park's marsh and shallow pond areas which are home to numerous Frogs and Dragonflies.

The woodlands and marshes both support populations of Skylark and Water Voles.

 

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