Friday, 13 February 2015

Scotland by Rail - Lenzie Moss NNR, kestrel, geese, deer

Scotland by Rail , thanks to ScotRail.

Lenzie Moss NNR (National Nature Reserve), Lenzie

kestrel, spire, pencil, 14.5x19.5cm

 Lenzie station, north side (platform 1). Exit, turn immediately left, walk the length of the station car park - now you're in trees at the start of Lenzie Moss.

Lenzie Moss is small, perhaps only a square kilometre - and that little area is one of the very few raised bog habitats still remaining in central Scotland, internationally significant. It's flat of course, it has patches of woodland on its fringes and a loosely circular and well surfaced footpath ringing the site. The path is level all the way, accessible to mobility scooters and wheelchairs and pushchairs. 
On the Moss you can find the rare and endangered bog rosemary (Andromeda polifolia) and green hairstreak butterfly (Callophrys rubi). There are various orchids, roe deer (the tamest I think I've ever seen), snipe, dragonflies, damselflies, lots of butterfly and moth species. And wonderful sundews. Some photos here on the Friends of Lenzie Moss website - and Facebook.

The very active Friends are working under guidance from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to help the Moss rehydrate to its natural wet state, although the project unfortunately has met with some argument. The improvements to retain the bog's natural water involve installing dams and removing scrub and some mature trees. The majority of the clearing had taken place before I visited.

saving me from having to try to explain it

and it looks like this

and it looks like this (2)

As I passed from station car park to wood I smelled the tangy musky scent of fox. The trees were (/are) predominently birch, white trunks and reddish branch tips glowing golden and crimson in the lowering winter sun. A great or a coal tit sang on repeat, I never can get it clear which of those two sings which song. Trains passed by.

spot the train

Through my binoculars greylag geese fed in a bunch on a field, they flock to this area each winter along with pink-foots. I'd noticed them from the train. Cars rolled past behind them and even further away were the distant tenement-tops of Glasgow.

greylags, car, tenements

I was impressed at how clean the area was - despite seeing that the path is very well used by walkers and dogs I only collected 3 cans, 1 plastic bottle, 1 plastic coffee lid, 1 large tetrapac and 1 deflated helium balloon. Believe me, that's good.

( Please please don't release balloons into the skies, they are deadly to all sorts of wildlife, not least marine mammals and seabirds: turtles especially swallow them as jellyfish, the bags knotting in their intestines, leading to slow starvation; seabirds use them in their nests, chicks getting tangled and becoming unable to fly from the nest, leading again to starvation, or to legs and necks getting cut, infected, broken. 'Chinese lanterns' do the same, and plastic bags. More here - )

I couldn't bring myself to pick up the two bags of dog poo that I passed (two isn't at all bad compared to here in Burntisland) and I did notice three separate dog walkers allowing their charges to, well, charge through the bog, which is never good for wildlife.

I found a secluded spot in young woodland, looking south across the main body of the bog. I sat an hour and a half, working on two watercolours and a sketch in pencil. The afternoon light and cloudscapes meant shadows and highlights changed by the minute. Six roe deer came within metres of me, very unconcerned by my presence. They look alien this close and face-on. Chunky and thick-necked. A kestrel hovered at the other side of the Moss, only a speck without my binoculars.

Lenzie Moss, pen & watercolour, 14.5x19.5cm

Lenzie Old Parish Church

spot the deer

easier to (spot the deer)

easier to (spot the deer) 2

Frozen hands, train times and approaching darkness made me move. I finished my circle back in woodland, robins at regular intervals marking their territories with melancholy song. A succession of squeezeboxes losing their air.

A flock of pink-footed geese rippled over in the now half-light, I heard their 'pink pink' calls grow louder as they approached, quieter as they passed overhead and away. They were low, possibly coming in to land on a nearby field.

How to get there:

ScotRail runs regular trains to Lenzie from Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Go to timetables and click on Central Scotland.

Lenzie spire, watercolour, 13.5x14cm

1 comment:

  1. I am fortunate enough to have the moss as my "back garden". Majestic and your experiences are not uncommon. The deer tend to tease the dogs. We have 3 resident foxes who also tease our dog; a feral mongrel rescued from the infamous Romanian pound. She is like a fox herself but just not as agile. She loves the moss, constantly listening for moles etc. as we walk round the perimeter; ie. off piste. There are kestrels, buzzards, tawny owls, snipe, meadow pipits, reed buntings, peewits, and the ubiquitous tits of all kinds, robins, blackies etc. Magpies roost in the tees, as do all manner of corvids, including ravens; not sure if the ravens roost there, but they collect in their families. Yes, a very special place in the heart of our wee village.