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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.

Monday, February 26, 2007

There were two Whooper Swans in a field next to Glasgow Airport at 8am. Later, Rooks were visiting nests at the Ayrshire Hospital and Waterside, Barrhead.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Spent an interesting day around Hoganfield Loch in north east Glasgow. Best sightings were a suite of freshwater wildfowl including Ruddy Duck, Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Goosander, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan and Whooper Swan. Signs of spring included display behaviour by some male Goldeneye, chocolate-brown hoods appearing in around 10% of Black headed Gulls and Rooks repairing nests in the rookery on the island.

Friday, February 23, 2007

First thing, noticed a Grey Heron leaving the site of the heronry at Woodhall.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Snowdrops like drifts of snow under the trees at Finlaystone.
First 5 Shelduck back on the sea off the Bishopton Levels.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Plenty of birds on show, both at home and away. Two Robins in the garden yesterday was the first multiple record in the past 18 months. Later in the morning, the drive over to Greenock (via the moors road) turned up 3 Kestrels (2 perched in Hawthorns) and 3 Buzzards. Today (on route back from Ayr), there was a single Buzzard perched prominently beside the M77 at Newton Mearns. The flower buds on the Prunus tree in the garden are now opening.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Another spring-like day with frost overnight, replaced by clear, calm conditions. An afternoon walk along the Cart revealed great drifts of Snowdrops and a Dipper (the first I've seen on this stretch).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Took a short-cut through Hillington Industrial Estate this afternoon (in an attempt to avoid displaced motorway traffic) and witnessed a male Sparrowhawk attacking a tight flock of about 20 Starlings, seperating a single bird and persuing it at great speed before giving up and flying off. The whole episode lasted about 10 seconds, and was probably missed by about 100 other frustrated motorists. However it was a rare and much appreciated connection with the wilder side of urban nature. The Serengetti comes to Shieldhall?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Winter has finally arrived, with several days of sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow across much of England (due here soon). Collins have released the cover art for the next New Naturalist due out in April.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Another clear, crisp and sunny day, with the morning frost still unmelted by evening. Working in Ayr today so stopped off at Maidens around 8am. No sign of Brent Geese, but 1 Pied Wagtail, a feeding Curlew and 9 Lapwings were making the most of the first light. News from the web is that Lesser Black backed Gulls are returning to the Clyde from their wintering grounds and Fulmars are back on their nesting ledges at Portencross.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Saturday was a glorious winters day in west central Scotland with crisp, clear air and blue skies. Took the opportunity to visit Rouken Glen park. Highlights included a Kestrel hovering by the M77 near Pollock and a Grey Wagtail feeding quietly in the glen. Highlights from the glade included a 5am "dawn chorus" (Song Thrush, Dunnock, Robin) and a Woodpigeon indulging in extravagant aerial display.

Friday, February 02, 2007

All the news on the web is of early spring activity - bees and bats on the wing and Chaffinches in song. Driving over from Howwood to the Lugton road this evening, noticed great drifts of Snowdrops under roadside trees.

Monday, January 29, 2007

07:45 Song Thrush in song, Silver Glade
11:00 Single Kestrel hovering by the road west of Bridge of Weir
11:00 Around 120 Greylag (including a leucistic bird) south of Kilmacolm (opposite the trout fishery)