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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, June 30, 2009

Woke up at 4:30am in broad daylight. Headed home from Strath Fillan at lunchtime. Highlights of the journey were a foraging Willow Warbler at Inveruglas and Dipper, Grey Wagtail and more dragonflies at Falloch Falls (below).


Monday, June 29, 2009

Drove to Oban first thing, but the scorching weather meant there was little birdlife on show. In the afternoon, stopped off at the campsite in Strath Fillan (see photo below). Walked up the burn and out onto the open hill. Best records were numerous Dragonflies (including one with a striped yellow-and-black abdomen) and singing Meadow Pipit and Tree Pipit.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Over a dozen House Martins and a possible Osprey were circling over Pitlochry town centre this morning. Later, on the drive back to Glasgow, Swifts were screaming through Aberfledy and Bridge of Allan, Grey Wagtails and a Common Sandpiper were along the Sma' Glen, and a dozen Sand Martins were over the river at Bridge of Allan.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Highlights of an evening spent in Pitlochry included Swifts screaming through the town centre, House Martin chicks peeping from nests above shops on the main street, two Dippers near the theatre and both Pied and Grey Wagtail families beneath the dam.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Walked from the glade to Ralston this evening. The only sighting of note was a Rook in the usual spot next to Crookston Hotel.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Walked past Bingham Pond on the way back from the Beatson this morning. There were two broods of Mallard ducklings - one of 3 (stage 2) and one of 5 (stage 1, including 2 darker coloured birds).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A new bird species for the glade today, in the form of a flyover Oystercatcher at 9 am.
Having said the above, there was a Song Thrush doing a perfect imitation of an Oystercatcher in the evening - so maybe I claimed that new species too soon!
In between, there was a single House Martin over the bowling green (the first I've seen in the area for nearly two weeks, in spite of keeping my eyes peeled) and an intact nest under the side eaves of the house in Cardonald Gardens. Also, two Blackcaps sang all day.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Most surprising natural connection of the day was a white House Sparrow which flew across in front of the car almost exactly where I saw one in September 2007.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Driving to work today, the shrubs along the coast between Langbank and Port Glasgow have burst into flower.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

An early morning trip to Bargarran, Erskine found a juvenile Starling begging from its parents and a female Blackbird with a beak full of worms. This afternoon, a pair of Kestrels were alarm calling near Neilston Pad. Other birds there included lots of singing Willow Warblers, two singing Sedge Warblers, flyover Linnets and feeding Swift, Swallow and House Martin. News from the web is that Bee Orchid has been discovered growing along a roadside verge in Kirkudbrightshire.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

First thing this morning, a couple of House Martins were over Dunchurch Road, Oldhall. At the other end of the day, a fast flying, pure white moth was spinning around the garden in the twilight.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Walking back to the tube from an early morning meeting at Yorkhill, 3 Sand Martins and a Grey Heron were under the Ballater Road bridge. Later a Buzzard was over the motorway at Bishopton. Most depressing connection of the day was a dead Roe Deer beside GlasgowRoad as it passes through Oldhall.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A day of sunshine and (torrential showers). However it didn't deter the 3-4 Swifts feeding over the motorway at 10 am and still there at 8 pm.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Two Mute Swans were on the Cart near Anchor Mill this afternoon. The cooler weather had stopped the hirundines from flying this evening, but one of the kids saw two House Martins over Cardonald Gardens this afternoon (the third sighting there in three days).
News from the web is of reports of Nightjars at two sites in Galloway.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another House Martin was over Cardonald Gardens at 7 am.
This evening, a Mistle Thrush flew over the road at Barshaw Park and a Skylark was singing strongly over the golf course.

Monday, June 15, 2009

An evening walk around Cardonald found 4 House Martins feeding above Cardonald Gardens and visiting the eaves of number 20.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Another warm and sunny day in WCS. Walked to Netherauldhouse first thing. Lots of Whitethroats around including three or four between the glade and Pollock House. Also notable were three Stock Doves feeding with a group of Woodpigeons on the cricket pitch.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Spent the middle of the day in a warm and sunny Dunkeld. Most highlights were on the way up with Jay at Rumbling Bridge, Swifts over Muthill and Crieff, and House Martins at Amulree and Corrymuckloch. Later, a Swallow was visiting a nest under the portico of Dunkeld Bank.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A red letter day today with a new species for the pond - a newt (either Smooth or Palmate). Earlier in the day, Wren, Whitethroat and Blackcap were singing over the fence and a Collared Dove and two Magpies were pottering around the garden. Then a Song Thrush came to bathe in the pond. Last thing, a Wood Mouse was hoovering up crumbs on the back step.



Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another warm, sunny day here in the west. Two Swifts were snapping up insects over the motorway at the Erskine turn off. Back home, the flowering Yellow Flag in the pond was attracting a couple of bees.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Work remains as hectic as ever, so natural connections are still thin on the ground. An afternoon engagement at Dykebar Hospital might have produced more than chattering Swallows if time had allowed.
This year's "Springwatch" finishes tomorrow. Most interesting news from the series is that two Great Bustard females have hatched young on Salisbury Plain.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Heading home today, a possible Shelduck was flying incongruously near to the trees in the second Finlaystone meadow. Back home, a Song Thrush was working the lawn in the back garden.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Few natural connections today due to a busy work day and rushed journeys. The dead Badger is still lying on the M8 at Bishopton, as it has done for the last week.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

An afternoon walk along the river was fairly unremarkable (apart from the head-high Japanese Knotweed which has taken over much of the banks) but a pair of Moorhens tending four tiny chcks among the lilly pads was a heart-warming sight.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A very wet and windy walk between Clackmannnan and Dunfermline was notable for lots of singing Warblers including numerous Willow Warblers, regular Whitethroats, two or three Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, a Sedge Warbler and a possible Lesser Whitethroat. Yellowhamers were also extremely common, including two singing from the pathway - one down to a distance of 5 metres. Plenty of plants were in flower along the way including Wood Avens, an unusual Hawksbit species and naturalised "Fox and Cubs".
On the way down the road, Hogganfield Loch had nearly 100 Greylag Geese plus Great crested Grebes attending nests.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Two Grey Herons and 12 Mallards were along the river this evening, with a single Swift overhead.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

A cooler day in WCS, but still pleasant and sunny. Birds are busily getting on with nesting and rearing young. First thing, a Robin had a beakful of worms outside the glade and mid-afternoon, a Magpie was carrying a stick opposite the university in Paisley.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Exciting news from Greenock is that one of the Mute Swan pairs in Murdieston Park has a broof of cygnets. Today, the two adults on the smaller dam were accompanied by 7 small, greyish-white young. The nest nearby was empty apart from a single un-hatched egg.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

An evening walk through Pollock Park produced no Nuthatches but a Great spotted Woodpecker was flitting around the walled garden and two Mute Swans were on the river opposite the Cricket ground.

Monday, June 01, 2009

No natural connections today due to pressures of work, the drive down to Greenock only being notable for two cruise liners in the basin.
News from the web is of 4 Spoonbills at Caerlaverock and a continuation of the weekend influx of Painted Lady butterflies.