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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, June 29, 2011

A young Grey Heron was an unexpected road casualty outside Finlaystone Estate first thing.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A lunchtime walk along the river in the centre of Paisley found two Goosanders in among the Mallards and four Sand Martins feeding overhead (including one entering a possible nest hole).

Monday, June 27, 2011

A family of five Great Tit fledglings have been visiting the garden feeders over the past few days. Other garden visitors have included two Collared Doves and five Magpies (Bah!).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Headed up to Lang Craigs first thing this morning and enjoyed a nice couple of hours wandering in the smirr. Most birds were keeping out of the rain but the usual Ravens were cronking over the craigs, a Kestrel entered what looked like a cliff nest site and a single Green Woodpecker swooped down from the crags into the woods below.
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Spent most of the afternoon following the West Highland Way from Dumgoyne to Mugdock. Bird highlights of a drizzly day included Buzzards and Pheasants at several sites, a couple of Tree Pipits in wooded areas and around ten Crossbills at Carbeth.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Fox was pottering about the back garden first thing. Later in the day, a succession of young Coal, Blue and Great Tits and a flock of at least 12 Long tailed Tits all suggested local breeding success.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Today began with a Kestrel soaring over the M8 at the Paisley/Renfrew junction and ended with two Swifts jinking over Bonnyholm Bridge. At teatime, a friend in Crookston phoned to say a bat was stuck in his toilet. Sure enough, the poor thing was saturated and looked half dead. However within two minutes of being fished out and placed on a dry towel in a shoebox, it had revived sufficiently to crawl out and wedge itself into a gap under the pebbledash on the house wall. Hopefully by now it will have dried out and got airborne.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The annual trip to see the Galloway Nightjars was only slightly marred by the rain (although the drive home, through the Dalveen Pass, was a bit of a nightmare). Birds seen on the way down included three Buzzards and a nice Black Grouse. The Nightjars themselves seemed to be more preoccupied with feeding than displaying, but two males churred intermittently. Heading home, six Barn Owls were seen between Dalry and Elvanfoot.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Heading down to Greenock this lunchtime, a Cormorant was high over the Black Cart where it flows under the motorway and ten Swifts were feeding just above the traffic nearby.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Harper Collins have released the cover art for the forthcoming NN title "Marches".

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The usual male Whitethroat was again singing from the scrub behind the house - with a Blackcap in full voice nearby.
Meant to mention that yesterday started with a newly-fledged Collared Dove on the lawn of the house across the road.

Saturday, June 18, 2011











I'm beginning to think that the Friday evening weather forecast is sponsored by those out-of-town, covered shopping malls. Yesterday's offering was particularly portentous with the promise of rain on an almost biblical scale. In the event, I spent 5 hours walking up into Glen Finlas this morning, and hardly felt a drop of rain. One good thing about a discouraging weather forecast, however, is that it tends to keep the hills quite quiet. Today, I didn't meet another soul.
The walk up the glen was really excellent with some hard-to-find, local birds including Whinchat (at least four singing males) and Wood Warbler (three), and most of the common, upland specialities including Wheatear, Raven, Redpoll, Cuckoo (brilliant views of two perched birds), Common Sandpiper and Buzzard. Birds of the day were Reed Buntings (including proved breeding near the top of the loch), Meadow Pipit (everywhere), Willow Warbler (everywhere with trees) and House Martin (present all the way up the glen and nesting in buildings beneath the dam). Other nice birds included four Great spotted Woodpeckers, a few Common Gulls and a single Chiffchaff. One that got away was a female duck with a trail of young which crossed the far end of the loch. My guesses would be Mallard, Wigeon or Goosander/Merganser.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Only one House Martin today.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Only two House Martins were over Cardonald Gardens this morning. However in the evening, a Whitethroat was singing over the garden fence (with another at the railway bridge) and a Swift was just above the rooftops.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Four House Martins were around Cardonald Gardens this morning, with a report of six later. One of the birds this morning was making what might have been a begging call. I wonder if this is a fledged brood? Very frustrating, not being able to confirm one way or the other.

Tuesday, June 14, 2010

Three House Martins were visiting the usual houses in Cardonald frst thing.
A quick walk round the Murdieston dams at lunchtime revealed that the second Mute Swan pair (on Town Dam) have hatched 5 cygnets (the pair on the main dam still have 6). The Tufted Ducks seem to have failed, however, with several birds loafing around. The drake Mallards are starting to enter eclipse. Lots of smaller bird activity around, with a Bullfinch and a Treecreeper in the cemetery and breeding evidence gathered for House Sparrow and Jackdaw. There were some gull chicks on the roof of a building to the north of the cemetery, but frustratingly adults of both Herring Gull and Lesser black backed Gull were present so I couldn't be sure which species had bred.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Timed visits to the tetrads at Dalquhandy and Stockbridge this morning produced counts of 38 and 32 respectively. Highlights were good views of feeding Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher, family parties of Linnet, Great spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Blue Tit and Coal Tit, a female Goosander flying along a stream and a few tricky species such as Kestrel, Redpoll and Moorhen. No sign of any Redstarts, Whinchats, Skylarks, Yellowhammers or Pied Wagtails, all of which I'd have expected. Also no sound of Quail.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Popped down to Govan for a while to look at the latest work on the new Transport Museum. An Oystercatcher flew by (I wonder if they nest nearby) and six House Martins were visiting at least four occupied nests above the windows of flats on Napier Drive and Napier Place.

Friday, June 10, 2011





Headed home from Slovenia this afternoon. The mountauns visible from the airport were topped with snow. Arriving in Glasgow at 10pm, the whole landscape was bathed in golden sunshine.


Thursday, June 09, 2011


An evening walk to Tivoli Park only added Mallard, Greenfinch and Chaffinch to the trip list.


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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Working in Jesenice today, which is in the far north west of Slovenia. A Buzzard was on a fence post beside the motorway along there. Later, two Spotted Flycatchers were catching flies outside the college building.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Humid and thundery in Ljubljana today. People have just come running into the hotel reception to escape another torrential downpour.
The day started brightly enough with a Blackcap singing from a tree next to the hotel terrace. Other birds included House Sparrow, Feral Pigeon and singing Great Tit. Heading back from teaching in the afternoon, a Magpie was with Feral Pigeons and one of the big, pale Hooded Crows that seem to be everywhere.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Arrived in Slovenia at tea time. Warm and humid here. Birds on the way from the airport to Ljubljana were Hooded Crow, Swallow and House Martin. May not get much time to look around due to heavy work demands. However enjoying the change of scene.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Work! Bah!!!

Friday, June 03, 2011

More sunshine in Glasgow and Greenock today, although it looks like it is not going to last.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

A glorious, cloud-free and wndless day in west central Scotland.
Two House Martins were visiting the suspected nest site on Cardonald Gardens.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

... and again, for a third day...