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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.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A quiet day weather-wise with dull, overcast conditions. Lots of waders along the Clyde (mostly Lapwings from what I could see) as well as Wigeon and a few Mute Swans. Saw one Buzzard perched on a fencepost near the Bishopton bend. Then at Langbank, saw a Buzzard-sized raptor being mobbed by a dozen corvids as it struggled to gain height. Along the river tonight were a Chaffinch feeding on Beech mast, a Great Tit "teachering" from a Willow and a Kingfisher zipping upstream just as dusk fell. Lots of conkers and acorns on the woodland floor now.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Signs of autumn in the glade over the weekend, with more fallen leaves in the pond. Two different Common Frogs visited last week, and neither was the one we saw a month or so ago. Otherwise, the pond is very quiet with most of the plants starting to die back for the winter. Woken up this morning by a Robin singing - the first "winter song" I've heard this year. Perhaps the Swallow I saw over Barshaw Park earlier in the week will prove to have been the end of the summer.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A lovely mild evening after the unsettled weather of late. Took a walk around Barshaw park just after 5pm and spotted a Swallow heading East overhead. Surely there can't be many more left.
Back home, the pond had a new Common Frog (all brown except for yellowish margins around face and back).

Monday, September 11, 2006

That Mediterranean Summer we were having is giving way to an Indian one with virtually no wind, clear blue skies and balmy temperatures. Certainly the 5 House Martins (heading SW) over the house yesterday evening and 2 Swallows (W) this afternoon testify to the warmer conditions we have been having. However, news from the web is that the first Brent Geese have arrived on Skye and the first Redwing has reached Mull, so maybe Autumn isn't so far away after all.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Spent last night camping out in the glade. Only notable connections were a Red Fox squealing at 2 am and the local Magpies squabbling a couple of hours later. Started today with a walk along the Clyde to Newshot Island. Nothing unusual there, apart from a trio of Shovelers. However it was nice to be in the fresh air, and to notice berry laden Rowans, fresh Bulrush flowers and fungi springing up everywhere.

In the afternoon, visited Baron's Haugh in Motherwell. Again, nothing remarkable to report, but it was nice to see an abundance of Bramble berries (pic), Red and Brown Hawker dragonflies along the path and a Common Frog in Dalziel Wood. The sunlight streaming through the trees presented a marvellous photo opportunity (pic).

Probably the most notable sighting of the day involved 3 Swallows hawking insects over Hamilton Cross at 4 pm.
The third walk of the day took us along Burnblea Street to the small park there. Nothing to get excited about, but just nice to have spent most of a Scottish September day in the outdoors and to have been more at risk of sunburn than a soaking!

Monday, September 04, 2006

A busy day for natural connections. Stopped off at Kelburn park after work to watch some terns feeding there. Counted around 5 "commics" and 5 Sandwich Terns. Adults of both species busily catching fish and feeding them to noisy juveniles perched on top of some sea defence poles. The young ones took a turn fishing as well and one Sandwich Tern caught an enormous Sand Eel which nearly wriggled out of its grasp as it flew over my head.
Also there were hundreds of Redshanks (many of them had white wing feathers which I took to be the remnants of juvenile plumage) and about 5 Common Gulls, each attended by a begging young one.
Managed 2 cycle rides along the river this evening. Best sightings were 30 Black headed Gulls (with many juveniles) on Rosshall playing fields and an adult Red Fox running across Rosshall Park (with a mouthfull of something it had stolen from one of the Moulin Crescent bins) and being joined by a young one hidden in riverside bushes.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Quiet day today, connection-wise. The two Toads were looking very restless in the pond, so I helped them out and into cover. Hope they remember where the pond is come spawning time.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Caught a huge Toad and an equally huge Frog which had hidden under a neighbour's paving slabs. Released them both in the silverglade pond. While we were doing so, another Toad (presumably the one which turned up about 2 weeks ago) came up from the pond bottom for some air. Neither of the new arrivals settled so I helped both out onto the pond edges. The Frog hopped into the nearby undergrowth but the Toad promptly hopped back into the pond. Have left a stone which can be used as an escape route if necessary (until I have time to put in a sloping gravel bank).

Forgot to mention, middle of last week, 14 Mallards on the river just 200m west of here, included a leucistic bird.