Ease: Easy, suitable for families and children
Length: as long or short as you like
Duration: as long as you want to stay out in the great outdoors
Bird ID: To help you with this task please go to here.
This activity can be done in any park or open space with a pond or stream nearby. It needs no special equipment but you might like to use binoculars if you have them. We recommend the lake at Callendar Park, the big pond at Kinneil and the lagoon at The Helix as great places to try this out.
Young herons have grey heads, look for adults with a white head and neck and big black ‘eyebrows’. Herons nest in trees and make big messy piles of twigs high up (see image below).
They are one of the heaviest flying birds in the world and nearly everyone can tell a swan apart from other birds, their all white plumage and long necks are iconic. However to be a true bird expert learn to tell the three different types of swan apart. You are most likely to see Mute Swans in our parks but there are also Whooper and Bewick Swan (see image below).
Mute swans can be identified by the black knob at the top of their bill. They aren’t ‘mute’ by the way, you’ll probably hear them chattering away (see image below).
Telling Whooper and Bewick swans apart is far more challenging. Look at how far the yellow on their bills extends down. If it’s a Whooper swan it goes all the way to their nostrils in a triangle shape (see image below).
A really common one is the Mallard, we have lots of these in Callendar Park. The males have a gorgeous green plumage on their heads and necks and a yellow bill. The females and youngsters are a more speckled brown colours to camouflage them (see image below).
Up your duck game by learning these more unusual species which may be more difficult to spot.
Mandarin. The male ducks (drakes) are a spectacular mix of copper, purple, black and buff in their winter plumage. The females are camouflaged again, like the female Mallards. This helps protect them when they sit on their eggs. Their nests are often in holes in trees (see image below).
Look out for Goosander. These ducks again have different male and female plumage in the winter. Males have white bodies with black heads and wing flashes. Their bills are red. Females have brown heads (with a bit of bedhead look) and pale grey bodies. When it’s not the breeding season the males look pretty much like the females (see image below).
Send us your pics of any of these birds or maybe even something more unusual which you have spotted in our parks on Facebook or Twitter and use #FitForLifeFalkirk, we love seeing our customer photographs.
If you’re looking for more inspiration or resources we have gathered some information on what’s available in our libraries, check out our list here.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this activity and we look forward to seeing your photos using #FitForLifeFalkirk on our social media channels, if you have any additional feedback on our activities please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org