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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, June 30, 2008

Natural connections today were confined to out-of-car-window sightings: 2 House Martins around the usual house in Cardonald Gardens, another couple along Candrens Road and a soaring Buzzard north-east of Margaret's Mill [4,000].

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Two walks along the Cart today produced two sightings of Kingfisher. In between, a short cut through the modern tenements in Pollock turned up two Purple Marsh Orchids among the buttercups and daisies on uncut front lawns. Plenty of Swifts around [10,000].

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Today started with 15 or so House Martins fluttering around houses in Dunchurch Road, Ralston. In a day of hirundines, Swallows were along the A705 between Abington and Biggar, and Sand Martins were over the Medwin Water at the Meetings. Other highlights of a day spent in rainy Borders and South Lanarkshire were Kestrel, Stonechat and Whinchat in the hills outside Broughton and juvenile Mute Swan, Mallard, Coot and Pied Wagtail on Biggar Boating Pond [12,000].

Friday, June 27th, 2008

A much cooler day in west-central Scotland. However news from the web is that at least two seperate Scarlet Rosefinches are singing in Scotland this year - at Tyndrum and in Glen Urquhart.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A lovely evening for a walk along the Cart with poplar blossom hanging in the air. Two Swifts were over the river and there were three broods of Mallards on the stretch 100m east of the first bridge (all accompanied by single females): two full-grown birds, four half-grown birds (including a leucistic juvenile) [I've seen both these broods before] and three tiny young (again, incredibly, including one leucistic bird).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Today started with a Buzzard over the M8 at Bishopton and ended with a Swift over fields near the Erskine off-ramp. In between, 12-15 Mute Swans were at Langbank - the first of the summer.
News from the web is that the next New Naturalist is nearly ready.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A walk around the dams this afternoon found the smaller reservoir half drained. The exposed mud had attracted a Grey Wagtail - the first I've seen there.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Today started with two House Martins visiting the eaves of the usual house in Cardonald Gardens and ended with a Swift over Bonnyholm Bridge.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Did my B.I.G. count today - a little later than planned. Anyway, not much of note (the male Whitehroat failed to appear) around the site. Took a walk round to the other side of the river and found 2 broods of Mallards, one of 2 well-grown juveniles which has been around for a few weeks, but the other, of 4, looks only a few days old (and interestingly includes a leucistic bird).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Walked from Barrhead to Roberson Car Park, Paisley this lunchtime. Highlights were singing Whitethroats at Dykebar and Brownside, singing Skylarks and a male Kestrel near the Seargent Law road and loads of Chimney Sweeps (day flying moths) rising from the grass under our feet.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A mixed day of sunshine and showers. A male Greenfinch came to drink at the pond and a Song Thrush was singing just over the fence.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Headed for Greenock at 6:30 this morning to look for the Rose-coloured Starling. No luck finding it (it hasn't been seen all day) but enjoyed lots of other natural connections including around 10 Black Guillemots swimming around the basins, several Rock Pipits (including one collecting food), a Pied Wagtail feeding a begging juvenile and four female Eiders with a single, small young in tow.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A wet day in West central Scotland, but a bat hunting round the house last thing was a nice sight. Heard that a Rose-coloured Starling has been seen in Greenock - hoping to catch up with it on the way to work tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A damp day today, but some interesting connections brightened things up. Another quick walk around Murdieston Park turned up 4 Swifts and 8 Swallows hawking over the water in the rain, the Mute Swan family actually with 6 cygnets (not 5 as I thought yesterday), some begging juvenile Jackdaws (presumably just fledged) and a singing Willow Warbler.
Early evening, a short walk down to the Cart found the Whitethroat back singing from the usual Bramble patch (and clearly audible from the house). Late evening, a Song Thrush was doing what Song Thrushes do best.......

Monday, June 16, 2008

First sighting of the day was of 4 House Martins visiting two houses on Cardonald Gardens. Later, managed a very quick walk around Murdieston Park. Highlights there were a Mallard with 3 small ducklings (on the remains of the Mute Swan nest), the Mute Swan pair with 5 cygnets, a juvenile Pied Wagtail and 4 half-grown Mallard ducklings (loosely accompanied by the white farmyard duck-type and a normal drake).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Took the opportunity to walk to church this morning. Two Grey Herons were flapping up and down the Cart. On the way back there were two broods (5 and 2) of full-grown Mallard ducklings and a song-flighting Whitethroat at its regular site.
In the afternoon, walked along the Cart to Hawkhead and back. Best birds were another (or the same) singing Whitethroat around 500m west of this morning's bird, a Swift over the adjacent playing fields, a singing Chiffchaff and (probable) Blackcap at the Leverndale gate and a pair of Moorhens with 5 chicks on Rosshall Park pond.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

eaded East today, to do some walking around Gladhouse Reservoir. Drove via the M74 and Douglas. Just off the motorway, a Lapwing was on the grass verge and a Grey Heron was flying over some farmland. Further on, two Grey Herons were standing in a small pool and lots of Swallows swooped over the road. In Penicuik, a Chiffchaff was singing from trees in Somerfield's car park. On route to Gladhouse, a male Kestrel headed over the moor. Then, around the reservoir itself, a Reed Bunting sang from the top of a sapling, A Roe Deer doe and her calf were seperated by a fence, a dozen or so Rabbits (including young) were relaxing around their warren, two Buzzards circled over the moors, Curlew and Sylark called in the distance and the marshland was studded with wild geraniums.

Friday, June 13, 2008

News from thw web is that churring Nightjars havebeen located at two sites in D&G.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Checked the nest box first thing. None of the usual begging calls were heard. Instead, just an adult-like call answering one calling from the woods, and the sound of scratching. Watched as a juvenile repeatedly clawed its way up to the entrance hole, and eventually burst out, fluttered onto the guttering above the window, then flew off strongly into the woods. I think he must have been the last to go as the box is now silent.
A morning trip to Ayr turned up 5 Swifts swooping low over Beech Grove and single Kestrels at the Mugton Roundabout and near Loans.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sure I heard a Blackcap singing clearly from the scrubby area behind the Glade this evening. A young Great Tit is visiting the feeders.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Blue Tits are still feeding fat green caterpillars to their chicks. Last night, a Common Toad was shuffling around the silverglade bus shelter. News from the web is that more Manx Shearwaters have been seen in the Clyde. Also new is the news that the eggs of the pair of Black winged Stilts nesting in Cheshire have hatched. Not so welcome is the news that more than 60 Dolphins have died after becoming stranded in a freshwater creek in Devon.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Back at the Beatson again today, but nothing new on the pond there.

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Headed down to Hessilhead for their open day. On the way, stopped off at the new Morrison's store in Johnstone. The footbridge from the car park gave excellent views of the river there, including a fishing Grey Heron. Nothing remarkable at Hessilhead apart from hundreds of people and a few House Sparrows.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

A sunny day at the glade saw a red damselfly visiting the pond. The pair of Blue Tits are now bringing in fat green caterpillars to their young.

Friday, 06 June, 2008

Started the day with a meeting at the new Beatson, so took the opportunity to walk past Bingham's Pond. Two female Mallards had young (B1 and B2), as did a single Coot (B2). No sign of any Tufted Duck young - I guess the Lesser black backs have had them.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Too busy to look for natural connections today, but a Kestrel hovering and swooping over the M8 at the Bishopton bend this tea-time was a nice surprise.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A busy day today, so not much in the way of natural connections. News from the web is that the first big movements of Manx Shearwaters into the Clyde have taken place over the past few days.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Managed a lunchtime walk up to Murdieston Dam today. Highlights were the pair of Mute Swans on the smaller dam which are now escorting 6 young cygnets, a few Yellow Flags also there and hundreds of Purple Irises around the main dam. Later, a Willow Warbler was singing from waste ground along Dempster Street.

Monday, June 02, 2008

A mild, if slightly damp evening with the highlight being two male Song Thrushes having a song fight from the rooftops around the glade. This has definitely been the year of the Song Thrush so far. I have had them singing from the roof, bathing in the pond, catching worms on the lawn, chasing the local Magpies and almost certainly nesting in the scrub behind the house.
A couple of Swifts were high over the glade late on.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A working day today, so virtually no natural connections. Thought I heard a couple of House Martins overhead but nil else.