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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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A wet afternoon in Glasgow was cheered up by the sight of a "hoodie-type" Carrion Crow consorting with 14 motely Magpies (see photo).

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quite a change in the weather here in West Central Scotland. The cold, dry conditions of last week have been replaced by wind and rain. Bellahouston Park this morning was full of birds with flocks of Redwings, Mistle Thrushes, Fieldfares, Jackdaws, Rooks, Magpies and Woodpigeons all looking for food. Plenty of roosting gulls were on the playing fields and smaller birds in the trees.
At Mugdock this afternoon, the first Goldeneye of the winter were on Mugdock Loch (5 very nervous birds - all either females or eclipse males). Mugdock reservoir had a pair of Goosander, again with the male in eclipse. The trees there are a riot of colour with everything from canary yellow to scarlet. The "signature" natural connection of this time of year is the sight of black-spotted Sycamore leaves on the damp woodland floor.
News from the web is that the first Waxwings of the winter have appeared in Highland and Northants (first birds I heard of in 2006 were on Shetland, also on 27th).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Had a second consecutive early morning frost today (only the third this autumn). The cold snap has come as quite a shock after the mild weather of the weekend. Natural highlight so far this week was a tight flock of around 30 Starlings hurtling through the air high above the Greenock traffic at lunchtime yesterday. Garden birds this week have included Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Robin, Wren, a couple of Blackbirds and the usual Dunnocks. No sign of any Squirrels, but Magpies remain a nuisance.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Walked around Ardmore Point this lunchtime. Weather good but seabirds well offshore, with only single Red throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe and Great crested Grebes identifiable (together with a few Shags and Black Guillemots (the latter in winter plumage)). Highlights were four Knot feeding in North Bay, some striking fungi growing on a piece of driftwood (above), and the quite intoxicating aniseed-like smell of Sweet Cecily unexpectedly wafting along the South Bay path.

Thursday, October 18th, 2007
Spent much of the day in the Appin area. Highlights there were Red breasted Mergansers and Mallards loafing on dead flat waters, and 10 Rock Pipits along the shore of Airds Bay. Later that day, walked around the outskirts of Benderloch. Undoubted highlight was a Barn Owl which gave fantastic views as it flew over a roadside field (in broad daylight) and watched me for a few minutes from a fence post before gliding away.
On the way back to Glasgow, passed single Rabbits and Roe Deer (and two dead Badgers) not far from Tyndrum. Later, 4 Red Deer crossed the road just south of Crianlarich.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Drove to Oban in warm autumn sunshine. Stopped for lunch at Tyndrum where a pair of House Sparrows were taking scraps from the tourists. Stopped again at Bonawe Ferry (south side) where 6 Wigeon and 3 Greater black backed Gulls were sharing a patch of seaweed and rocks out in the loch. Arrived at Benderloch mid afternoon.Birds seen from the house there were Hooded Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Buzzard, Pheasant, House Sparrow, Robin and Wren (the final two species in song).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Another walk along the Cart this afternoon turned up little of note except a single Redwing in a Rowan tree at Rosshall Park.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Today started with 2 Coal Tits and 2 Great Tits visiting the feeders in the back garden, plus a Wren (for the second time this week), a few Dunnock and (on the driveway) a single Grey Squirrel. A long walk along the Cart to Pollock House and back via Bellahouston Park turned up two Herons, several calling Dunnock (at the Pollock allotments) and 30 or 40 Rooks (along Mosspark Boulevard).

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A glorious day in west central Scotland. Drove from Greenock to Ayr in the afternoon, stopping briefly at Doonfoot for lunch. Plenty of bird activity thereabouts with Stonechats (see picture), Greenfinches and Goldfinches in the dunes and hundreds of birds out on the mud including 17 Teal.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Yesterday started with a pre-work visit to the Gryffe reservoirs above Greenock to look for a Great grey Shrike reported there. No sign of the shrike, but lots of good birds around included my first Fieldfare of the autumn, a singing Chiffchaff, a Stonechat and two Goldcrests. Today's trip to Edinburgh left little time for natural connections although there was a Buzzard soaring next to the M8 west of Livingston.