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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.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

An afternoon spent tidying up the garden ("At last", I hear the neighbours say) allowed lots of casual natural connections including a Black headed Gull mobbing a soaring Sparrowhawk, a flock of Redwings overhead and plenty of small birds (Blue Tit, Long tailed Tit and House Sparrow) calling from different parts of the glade.
Later, just after dusk, four Whooper Swans flew, calling, low over the railway wood (a new species for the square).

Friday, October 30, 2009

According to the web, today saw a significant passage of Fieldfares through Central Scotland.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mild and rainy today. No natural connections today, but multiple rarities in Fife.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

First bird of the day was a Collared Dove on the railway bridge. A lunchtime walk around Murdieston Dams produced a few Common Gulls among the Black headeds, but little else of note. Later, a group of soaring birds near How Bernaigh included three Buzzards, two Ravens and a Sparrowhawk.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

An evening walk only produced a few "See-eep"ers, but mild, pleasant weather for the time of year.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A busy day at work meant no naturalconnections today. However good news from the web is that four Tree Sparrows (10 on 31st) have been seen at Cathkin Marsh, not far from the former stronghold of the species of Carmunnock (clydebirds). Also, the first Waxwings of the winter have been seen in Aberdeen (1) and Livingston (2).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Some amount of rain fell on west central Scotland last night. Today, most of it was in the Cart. Large areas of the woods west of Pollock House were completely flooded and the weir was hidden by the depth of water flowing over it. A Nuthatch was on the feeder behind the Visitor Centre.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Highlight of a rainy drive over to New Lanark was a Kestrel hunting at dusk just west of Stonehouse.

Friday, October 23, 2009

And more Redwings over tonight... (7,417).


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another evening walk, with more Redwings overhead. Earlier, another high tide had filled the Clyde to the brim (11,350).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Walked from Barshaw to the glade this evening. Plenty of Redwings heard passing overhead. Terrible light pollution from a floodlit football pitch at Ralston (11,118).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Once again, today's walk was done after dark. Hoped to hear some owls but there was too much noise from traffic and the match at the local football stadium.
News from clydebirds is of a flock of 60 Collared Doves near the airport and more divers and grebes down the Clyde (9116).

Monday, October 19, 2009

No time for a walk until after dark. However Redwings were still "Tsee-eep"ing over unseen. News from the web is of the sad death of an escaped Ostrich on a motorway in Cheshire (7051).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A late afternoon walk along the river to Hawkhead estate, and back via Hawkhead Woodland threw up various interesting sightings. Most notable were a Kingfisher near the Catering School, a Sparrowhawk flying leisurely over Hawkhead football field and several flocks of Redwings filing into the woods from farmland further south. Most surprising sighting was of a canoeist struggling on the river just upstream of the rocky river bend (the first time I've seen anyone navigating any of the stretches I've walked in the past 12 years). Also unusual were two bulls in Bull Wood (11290).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Finally emerged from under the duvet today, and found myself blinking in some lovely autumn sunshine. The weather was the natural highlight of an afternoon walk around Arthur's Seat. There were few birds on show but the Forth basin at Cockenzie was like the proverbial millpond (11117).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Confined to base today, due to a close natural connection with an upper respiratory tract virus.
New arrivals locally include Whooper Swans, Brent Geese and Slavonian Grebes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

An afternoon walk along the Cart didn't turn up anything unusual (although the recent increase in Starling numbers in the area continues). It seems the Redwing influx hasn't reached us yet.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Heading out in the wee small hours, a large Toad was in the front garden. Spent a second afternoon down the Ayrshire coast, this time at Portencross. The strong wind meant few birds were on the wing (although there were Buzzards here and there, plus two Kestrels along the Dalry Moor Road). Only birds of note at Portencross were a few Shags.
News from the web is of more arrivals of Redwings, plus departing Swallows feeding on greenfly in Sycamore trees.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Spent the afternoon on the Ayrshire coast south of Largs. Came across upwards of 30 Pied Wagtails along a 1.5km stretch. Lots of variations but couldn't pick out any Whites. Big skies and lovely light....

Friday, October 09, 2009

Drove from Paisley to Greenock via Howwood. Lots of raptors were on the wing including two Buzzards, a Peregrine at Haigh Bernaigh and a Kestrel at High Knockairs. Later, the Clyde was full to the brim...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Walking past Bingham's pond this morning, there were plenty of birds on the water including lots of Black headed Gulls and two odd ducks - presumably Tufted Ducks but with gleaming white undertail coverts!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Lots of birds on the move today with small groups of Starlings, gulls and corvids heading purposely back and forward. A Grey Heron was among the waders and gulls at Longhaugh.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

An early evening walk along the Cart turned up nohing too significant apart from 16 Long tailed Tits and a Moorhen at Rosshall Park pond and a possible Fieldfare calling from nearby trees.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Records of Jays continue to come in from all parts of the country - it seems that a national influx is underway. Also of interest, a Red Panda has been killed on a road in D&G, having lived in the wild for 19 months after escaping from a local wildlife park.

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Yesterday's gale force winds were replaced today by fluffy clouds and blue skies. A number of bird species were even tempted to sing including Robin and Great Tit.
Best birds of a walk to and from Pollock were three possible Bullfinches swooping into the trees between Pollock Wood and the river. Also notable were two Cormorants on their usual tree.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A very windy walk up Tinto Hill in South Lanarkshire produced no birds (due to the weather) apart from a single Kestrel at the very start. Later, a dead Badger was at the side of the M74.
Stopped briefly at the Heritage Park in East Kilbride to check for wind-blown strays. There was nothing unusual on show, but 40 Lapwings were on adjacent fields.

Friday, October 02, 2009

News from the web is that Whooper Swans are back on the Black Cart at Glasgow Airport.

A busy day today meant only virtual connections. A quick round up of local news from the past few days (mostly from clydebirds) includes:
Barnacle Geese, Pink footed Geese, Brent Geese and Whooper Swans arriving or passing through.
Plenty of Green Sandpipers, Greenshanks and Black tailed Godwits.
The wandering Black Swan (at Erskine Harbour).
Slavonian Grebes at Ardmore and Guillemots further up the Clyde.