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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, December 28, 2006

Managed a short stroll along the Cart this afternoon. Lots of bird activity (and some song) evident. Single Grey Heron and 3 Moorhens on the river. Around 30 Redwings in various treetops. Woodpigeons and Jackdaws going to roost. Magpies everywhere (perhaps 20+ between the glade and the school). House Sparrows roosting in the hedge at the old farmstead and the conifer belt along the railway. Three Blackbirds seen, including one in song.
In the garden, of late: up to five Blue Tits, two Great Tits and three Dunnocks; one each of Blackbird and Robin; four or five Feral Pigeons; two mice (scampering out from under the shed), one Grey Squirrel and the odd Magpie; Blue Tits indulging in courtship chases and heard a short snatch of Dunnock song.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Today was the shortest day of the year, but I still managed to clock up some interesting sightings, albeit mostly from a speeding car... This morning there were 20 flighty Fieldfares in the Hawthorns along Candrens Road and 20 Whooper Swans loafing in the field behind the Old Schoolhouse there.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Managed a few more natural connections over the past two days. Yesterday, a brief stop at Finlaystone Point around lunchtime revealed a pair of Pintail (and some far-off, unidentified grebes) among the Mallards and Wigeon. Today, on the drive from Ayr to Greenock, noticed 30 Greenfinches and large numbers of Oystercatchers at Barassie, around 25 Eider on the sea at Portencross and around 30 Wigeon, 25 Redshank, a pair of Common Gulls (in courtship display) and 2 Mute Swans at Fairlie Shore. Raptor count was 2 Kestrels and 1 Buzzard (all perched).

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Woke up today to calm, mild (and dry!) conditions. First sighting was of 5 Blue Tits (a record?) visiting my tiny back garden (7 Long tailed Tits had scouted along the boundary fence on Thursday).
Managed out along the river in the early afternoon. Lots of birds about (and a big Red Fox scavenging along the "tideline"). Water levels now well down on where they were earlier in the week (as evidenced by the "strand line" just a metre from the gardens in Moulin Crescent). Lots of detritus scattered right across the Moulin playing fields.
Birding highlights were 40 Fieldfares in the treetops, 40 Black headed Gulls taking worms from the football pitch, 5 House Sparrows at the old farmstead, a Cormorant upriver, a Blackbird tuning up and a Moorhen (not very common round here) skulking in what is left of the riverside vegetation.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

An unexpected bonus on a family trip to Lingerwood, Midlothian was a Tree Sparrow associating with House Sparrow, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Blue Tit and Great Tit on the garden feeders. Sightings along the way were limited to a couple of Buzzards (including the regular bird on a fence just west of Hermiston Gait).
Oh and after the almost biblical volumes of rain we have been having - some much-needed dry weather.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Darkness continues to cover the earth here in West Central Scotland - at least during all the hours that I am not working. Only the irregular hours that I work on Mondays make any natural connections possibly. Today, the mid-morning drive to work was enlivened by a single flash of lightening, a sudden fall of hail, then clear blue skies over the clyde. The raptor count on the drive to Ayr (mostly in darkness) was one Kestrel (although there was the usual Buzzard at Bishopton earlier in the day). Garden visitors have consisted of Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Magpie and Feral Pigeon. Oh, and the Toad is still in the pond.

News from the web is that the storms of last weekend (which brought an influx of Leach's Petrels to the west coast) deposited a number of good birds in Scotland including an Ivory Gull at Greenan Shore, a Black necked Grebe on Strathclyde Loch and a Black throated Diver on one of the Neilston Reservoirs.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Highlights of yesterday (Friday) were 20 or so Starlings singing loudly in the sunshine in the trees opposite the community centre on Sandy Road, Renfrew. Later, 20 Redwings, 2 Mistle Thrushes and around 5 Fieldfares were feeding on Rowan berries along Clunie Drive, Bellahouston.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Dark going to work; dark coming home. Few opportunities for natural connections.
Last Monday's drive from Greenock to Ayr produced a raptor count of 3 Kestrels and 1 Buzzard.
Last week's gales have finally stripped the leaves off most of the trees hereabouts.
Nil else to note.
Only 14 days to the winter solstice!