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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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Heading over to a meeting first thing, three Swallows were swooping over the road on the outskirts of Newton Mearns. Also notable was a Grey Squirrel gingerly crossing the busy Barrhead Road at Silverburn. Later, in Paisley Town Centre, there were four immature Goosanders vigorously washing in the river with nine Mute Swans (including seven full-grown immatures) and two Grey Wagtails nearby. Another two Grey Wagtails were encountered this evening, one on the Cart at Moulin and one (unusually) on Rosshall Park pond. Also unusual was a calling Siskin.
Great news tonight (as more migrating geese funnel down the East coast of Scotland) is that both the satellite-tracked Honey Buzzards ringed in Moray this summer have made it to Africa (Highland Foundation for Wildlife).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Managed to squeeze in a short walk this lunchtime. The weather was decidely autumnal, but little had changed at Murdieston except that four Mute Swans had arrived (to add to the family of 2br3 already present) and around 50 Starlings were chattering from rooftops.
Later, six or seven Long tailed Tits flew across Finnart Street.
Interesting news from the web is of a Sandhill Crane being tracked down the Northeast coast of Scotland.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Headed for Mugdock Park after work. A flock of small birds near the dipping pond contained a single Treecreeper. Down at Craigend Loch, a Moorhen, 3 Tufted Ducks and 13 Mallards were the only birds on show.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Most interesting web report of this weekend was of the 15 Gannets seen in a flock over the Three Towns Bypass (ayrshirebirding). Later, heard that four were over Bridgend Farm (Kirkintilloch - Kilsyth) on Saturday and two were over the A737 near Howwood on Sunday (clydebirds).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Walked around Ardmore Point this lunchtime. Spent quite a lot of time sorting through the Curlews for Whimbrels but came to the conclusion that the only short-billed birds on offer were actually immature Curlews. Best birds were Wigeon, Red breasted Merganser and Eider bobbing on the waves, flocks of Goldfinches feeding on grassland and a probable Chichaff feeding in a small tree occupied by 7 Long tailed Tits. Drove home via Carman Reservoir which held around 50 Canada Geese and a couple of Coots.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Working in Paisley all day allowed a walk along the river first thing, and then back late afternoon. In the morning, the stubble fields north of the river were covered in Woodpigeons, Rooks and Jackdaws, and a single Swallow was swooping round the houses in Hawkhead (News from the web is of young House Martins still in the nest in Cumbria). This afternoon, a Dipper and Grey Wagtail were just upstream of the rocky bend.
Later this evening, a quick trip to Pollock Park turned up a Grey Wagtail and a young Grey Heron near the weir.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Brent Geese have arrived back in Scotland with small flocks seen in Wigtonshire and Lothian this week (also some passing Barnacle Geese over Lothian).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The two Scottish Honey Buzzards being satellite-tracked as they migrate south are still doing well. One has reached Mauritania in northwest Africa. The other is slower but still on track, having reached northern Portugal.

Tuesday, 22 September, 2009

A Northern Bottlenose Whale has found its way into the Clyde. Hopefully it will find its way out again, although past experience suggests there may not be a happy ending to this one.
Other news from the web is of a brood of Swallows newly fledged from a nest on Turnberry Lighthouse and a House Martin chick still in the nest on a Lothian farm.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The dry weather of the past week finally broke today with drizzly rain and leaden skies. On the migrant front, a group of 6 Fieldfares was in Cumbria last Friday (cumbriabirding).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

No natural connections today due to other commitments. However the web is buzzing with news of more arrivals of Pink footed Geese from Ayrshire to Lothian.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


A morning walk around Hogganfield Loch produced a suite of ducks including Mallard, Tufted Duck, Teal, Shoveler, Gadwall and Ruddy Duck, but no Goldeneye or Goosander. A fresh-plumaged Willow Warbler was working the trees near the sandy patch on the East bank and a Meadow Pipit was in the marsh.

A quick walk between White Bridge and Snuff Mill Bridge in Linn Park produced good views of all three river specialists: Dipper, Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher.

Friday, September 18, 2009

News from the web is of Pinkfeet arriving across lowland Scotland. Locally, Starlings seem to be on the move, with a flock of 20 along the A8 at Langbank. Back at Hillington, a Kestrel was flying above the traffic queues.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A cool start to the day gave way to warm sunshine. Knocknairshill Reservoir was overrun with around 150 Canada Geese.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Yesterday's drizzle had subsided by nightfall, and the night itself was still and peaceful, but for the calls of the night birds (Tawnies?). First thing, two Collared Doves were fussing on a house roof in Nethybridge. The journey south, therafter, was notable for blue skies and lots of raptors (eleven Buzzards, three Kestrels and a single Red Kite). Other sightings, mostly glimpsed on the move, included Goldeneye at Loch Insh and Roe Deer plus clouds of Swallows at Insh Marshes. Back home, a Great spotted Woodpecker was "peeping" in the glade.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


The first sounds of the day were the "Chip-chip"s of Robins squabbling around the pine trees at the Lazy Duck. Not long afterwards, a Red Squirrel bounded through. The whole day was spent indoors in Inverness, but an evening visit to Chanonry Point produced plenty of seals (but no dolphins) plus Grey Heron, Greater black backed Gulls and Pied Wagtails. Heading along the back road from Coylum to Nethy in the dark, a hopping frog was, unusually, caught in the headlights.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Today started with three skeins of Greylag Geese (probably 60+ in total) heading up from the Clyde to the fields north of the airport. It ended with an impossibly starry sky glimpsed through the pine branches at the old drovers' campsite in Nethybridge.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Walking home from Pollock today, decided to detour via Nitshill Road and Hurlethill (hoping to connect with the Jays which have been seen hereabouts recently).
Notable sightings included two Grey Wagtails swooping down under the Levern road bridge, Goldfinches feeding on wasteground thisles in Priesthill and a possible 3 raptors between the Hurlet and Crookston Road (a possible (but distant) Sparrowhawk patrolling the edge of Tonguehill Wood, a Buzzard mewing over Bull Wood and a Kestrel upsetting the local Jackdaws on Mulben Avenue). The Kestrel sighting was particularly notable as I can't remember seeing one locally before.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

There were still House Martins over Drymen today. Nearby, a Common Buzzard flew across the road ahead of us. In the evening, a bat was flitting around the house in Milton of Campsie.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The late summer silence in terms of birdsong is starting to be broken, mainly by Robins. Everywhere, they seem to be singing, some the wistful 'winter song', others a more melodic, spring-like song. I also heard a short burst of Wren song in Paisley today.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lots of Swallows in rural Renfrewshire today, plus a family of Canada Geese and a group of six Meadow Pipits.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

At last, some respite from the rain. Lots of birds were on the move down the Clyde, but a single Grey Heron was plowtering with the Curlews and Redshanks at Langbank.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Had to criss-cross rural Renfrewshire today, trying to avoid the flooding along the coast. In spite of the weather, there were plenty of House Martins and Swallows around the roadside buildings. A dozen Goldfinches burst out of a roadside hedge just west of the Clochoderick Stane. Just further on, a similar number of House Sparrows were drinking from puddles on the road.
Back at the glade, 30 or more Lesser black backed Gulls (plus juveniles) were on the Moulin playing field.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Managed a quick scoot around the Murdieston dams at lunchtime. Nothing remarkable on show, but numbers of Tufted Duck and Coot both seem to be on the increase.
On the way home, a Grey Heron was perched on the top of the dead tree just before the Erskine off-ramp. Then in Paiisley, a pair of Mute Swans were on the Cart next to Morrisons, Lonend.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A lunchtime walk through Pollock Park was pretty unremarkable (only a lone Mistle Thrush feeding on the cricket pitch was in any way unusual). Drizzly rain deterred any remaining hirundines from being on the wing. However a group of House Sparrows was (unusually) next to the Mosspark rail footbridge.
Quite an interesting sighting on clydebirds today - four Jays at the Hurlet.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A walk from Ayr town centre to the footbridge at Doonfoot was notable for the following: 30 Gannets feeding in a tight group offshore, two winter-plumaged terns (one a Sandwich Tern), 5 Goosanders, 20 Turnstones, a family of Pied Wagtails and (most remarkable of all), two whole hours without rain.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Weather systems continue to pile in from the Atlantic today (parts of Scotland had a month's rain overnight) bringing with them Skuas, Petrels, Sabines Gulls and other ocean-goers.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Having to rely on public transport today meant more time for natural connections. The muddy shores of the Clyde were alive with birds including Lapwing, Oystercatcher and Dunlin. Just east of Langbank, two Grey Herons were hunkered down beside a creek and another was near Erskine. Later, at Braehead, gangs of Starlings were sounding off.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Trapped in a virtually bird-free Paisley today.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

This August has been the wettest on record, so no surprise that September began with rain.