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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.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Christmas break has brought some welcome free time and opportunities for natural connections. A walk to Crookston Castle (below) on Boxing Day turned up about 10 Jackdaws but little else. The middle of the next week brought lying snow, but only for 36 hours. A return to mild weather today meant a trip to Portencross beach (see photo below). Plenty of birds around with flocks of ducks, gulls, finches and waders constantly moving between the beach, seaside fields and nearby raised ground. The full list for 1 hour (2 30 to 3 30 pm) at the spot (NS1849) was:
Wigeon (75, feeding in partly flooded fields, then roosting on the sea), Mallard (25, ditto), Skylark (20, feeding in muddy cattle field), Oystercatcher (30), Redshank (5), Turnstone (2), Curlew (1), Herring Gull (2+), unidentified gull sp (50, in flock, hugging the countours to avoid the wind), Jackdaw (20), Carrion Crow (2+), Rook (20), Rock Pipit (3+), Greenfinch (5), Wren, Robin, Stonechat, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail (all 1 each).

Portencross beach, looking back towards West Kilbride, 31st December.

Freshwater aquarium (with 6 Silver Cloud Mountain Minnows) up and running.

Crookston Castle, on a damp but bright Boxing Day afternoon. Only wildlife around - a flock of around 10 Jackdaws.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The mouse which had taken up residence behind the chimney finally succumbed to the attractions of the half-eaten Topic I was using as bait, and got itself caught in my "humane mouse trap". It turned out to be a Wood Mouse, much bigger than the House Mice I remember from years ago. Anyway, a quick trip along to Bellahouson Park and it was bounding away across the grass, none the worse for its experience.
The cold snap has brought more birds to the garden feeders with 5 Blue Tits, 1 great Tit, 1 Coal Tit (the first I've seen here), 1 Robin and 2 Dunnocks all feeding together. A Grey Squirrel was also hanging around (they have been scarce recently).

Thursday, December 22, 2005

This would be a great Christmas present - if only I had an iPod!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Deepest, darkest December has descended on West Central Scotland. I'm sure there are plenty of natural connections on offer, but unfortunately all my daylight hours recently have been spent at work. There have been a few glimpses of what is about - a flock of Lapwings in the rush hour gloom (at Finlaystone), a herd of Whooper Swans in the distance over misty farmland (at Candrens) and a few, fat Fieldfares flitting around the cinema car park (at Linwood). Highlight was a beautiful, salmon pink, herringbone sky over Ayrshire one evening, with the outline of Arran etched in perfect detail.