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Natural Connections

Modern life in Scotland is increasingly busy. The connections our ancestors had with nature and the land are being lost. As leisure time shrinks, or is filled with hi-tech experiences, opportunities to experience nature become fewer. And yet it is possible to connect with nature on a day to day basis. All around us, the great web of life continues to hold its shape, and nature continues its eternal cycles. Keep looking, listening, smelling, touching - and keep experiencing natural connections.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Two House Martins first thing and a Whitethroat singing in the afternoon were the highlights of a day spent mostly at home

Saturday, May 20, 2017

An early start near Queen's View produced two singing Cuckoos and a Barn Owl flying along the road. Later, a walk from Rowardennan Car Park to the gates of Ptarmigan Lodge produced the following: Willow Warbler (19), Wood Warbler (11), Blackcap (7), Redstart (5), Cuckoo (5), Garden Warbler (2) plus Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Chiffchaff and Tree Pipit (all 1). Some of these species gave great views (in spite of the heavy rain) with a Redstart chasing flies on a forest path, a Pied Flycatcher singing from an exposed, low branch next to the main path and a Spotted Flycatcher giving its simple little song from the topmost branch of a dead tree being the highlights. The Wood Warblers were notable for their habit of flitting between low song perches between each blast of song. Other interesting birds in the area consisted of a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers loafing on the Common Gull breeding islet, House Martins visiting presumed nest sites under the eaves of the youth hostel tower and a hoodie hybird checking the mouth of a burn for any food items.
At lunchtime, the rain relented a little and up to ten Swifts were feeding close to the loch surface at Balloch Castle slipway. The grounds of the castle were alive with singing birds, especially Goldcrest (13), Chaffinch (11), Willow Warbler (9), Blackcap (6) and Chiffchaff (5) with Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Woodpigeon, Great Tit and Blue Tit joining in. No Nuthatches were heard, the only suggestion of them being the inclusion of a phrase of theirs in a Song Thrush song.  The castle itself held House Martins and Swallows both looking like they were attempting to nest. Oystercatchers were feeding on the lawn.
The Leven at Balloch had no Mandarins today but Loch Bowie had Grey Heron and Little Grebe. A planned walk up to Lang Craigs (to check for Stonechat, Whinchat, Wheatear, Raven, Buzzard, Kestrel and Green Woodpecker) was abandoned after the weather closed in again.  Heading home, two Skylarks were singing at Arkleston Farm.

Friday, May 19, 2017

A juvenile Raven was on the JNI dome first thing. At the end of the working day, the two adults were together on the spire of CMBC, before one flew off north east.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Three Swifts were screaming over the west end of Greenock this lunchtime as three House Martins were inspecting the eaves of some old villas near the Cricket ground for nest sites. Later, a Swallow was down near the container park.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A walk around Cowdenknowes Dam first thing found four pairs of Coots incubating and one pair with four dependent young. The Mute Swan pair had seven newly-hatched young. A pair on the neighbouring Town Dam were still building their nest.
The day had started with three House Martins over Cardonald Gardens and ended with two feeding and twittering overhead as the sun set.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Raven activity:
08:15     Two juveniles on the CMBC tower at the base of the crown (there for most of the morning but gone by 12:30).

13:30     Two juveniles on roof of JNI (then one in nearby tree). Adult calling nearby.

14:30     Adult arrived from east and landed on dome of JNI.

14:45     Adult back on dome of JNI, then flew up to perch on spire of CMBC.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Few opportunities for natural connections today. However House Martins are notable by their absence in south Cardonald after a couple of singles last week.

Saturday, May 14, 2017

After a day of heavy rain, the weather started to improve about 5pm. Headed over to Baron's Haugh. The reserve was full of life with singing Blackcaps and Willow Warblers particularly noticeable. A Great White Egret was in front of the Marsh Hide with a pair of Gadwall. A Whitethroat was singing near the Centenary Hide. Later, two Wood Sandpipers were feeding on the mud at Carbarns Pool.