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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, February 29, 2012

The lengthening days mean that evening walks are suddenly possible. This evening, a short walk to Bonnyholm and back produced an unprecedented TWO Moorhens (I always see singles round here, and even then, not very often). Also notable were at least three singing Wrens and as many as six singing Greenfinches between two sites (Silver Glade and Bonnyholm).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The geese were heading up the Clyde at dawn this morning, as I was heading down.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A lunchtime walk around Murdieston Park found the main dam partially drained to allow for repairs to the boardwalk. Most of the waterfowl seemed to have moved away but four Goldeneye were in the deeper northeast corner and a Pied Wagtail was feeding on the exposed mud. Signs of spring included two Rooks attending a platform of sticks in their usual nesting tree and a Mistle Thrush singing in the rain.



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fifteen Goldfinches were in a neat line on telephone wires in Hyndland.
This afternoon, a quick trip to Mugdock was remarkable only for a pair of pristine Common Gulls (they really are one of my favourite gull species) on Craigend Pond and a singing Mistle Thrush nearby.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Photos of yesterday's Strathspey trip below including a complimentary snack on the way north, The Martineau Monument at Loch an Eilein road-end, The Polchar, the summit of Ord Ban (including a view to the northern corries and two photos of local plant life), Forest Cottage, Achnagoichan and sheep at Whitewell Croft and Upper Tullochgrue.























Friday, February 24, 2012

Took full advantage of the Citylink "Go anywhere in Scotland for £2" offer and spent a really good day walking in Rothiemurchus Forest. Highlights of a cold, bright day were nearly 200 Greylag Geese in fields at Doune Farm, two Goldeneye on Loch an Eilein, a Treecreeper next to the path up Ord Ban and over 200 Jackdaws roosting on the roof of the MacDonald Hotel. It was also nice to have the whole walk up and down Ord Ban to myself. The views from up there are excellent. Plant life is remarkable for such a small hill with Birch woodland around the base, Heather covering most of the upper third and a montane flora (clubmoss, Dwarf Willow etc) around the very top.
Impressions of Strathspey in February:
(1) Its cold and windy.
(2) The birds have begun to sing (I had Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Robin and Mistle Thrush).
(3) There are plenty of animals being farmed in the area (Cattle at Achnagoichan and Tulloch Farm, and Sheep at Tulloch Farm and Whitewell Croft).
(4) Many of the isolated cottages are occupied (judging by the number with smoke coming from their chimneys). I had assumed they were all second homes.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lots more activity in the silverglade pond this evening. Lovely to hear the frogs croaking at midnight last night.
Tomorrow's weather looking even better.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Raven was calling as it circled Coats' Memorial Church this afternoon.

Arriving home, at least four pairs of Frogs were in the pond, together with two clumps of frogspawn (one freshly laid). This is two weeks earlier than last year.


Weather in Aviemore looking good:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Spring news from the web includes Lesser Celandine in flower at Baron's Haugh and freshly-laid frogspawn in Cumbria.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Passing Doonfoot on the way to a meeting in Ayr, a quick look over the dunes found numerous Dunlin but no Snow Buntings.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The usual Sunday morning walk (in icy conditions) produced plenty of common birds, many of which were in full song (including a nice Greenfinch in Bellahouston Park). Back home, a dead frog had floated to the surface of the garden pond.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Unclogged the garden pond last week to clear some areas of water for the anticipated arrival of frogspawn. First clumps in recent years have tended to appear in the first few weeks of March. However, with the mild conditions of late, have been checking the pond daily just in case.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A day off today started with a Raven at Ardgaty, continued with six Hawfinches at Scone and finished with at least four Dippers (including a singing bird) on the River Ericht outside Blairgowrie.
Photos below of Kitty Swanson's Bridge and a very nice cafe in Blairgowrie:



Thursday, February 16, 2012

A quick run round Murdieston Park this lunchtime found at least 6 Goldeneye on the main dam.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Glorious day in Hamilton - viewed through the classroom window :-(

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The usual walk along the Cart looked unpromising with blustery weather keeping most of the birds quiet. However, with perseverance, 32 species were seen including:
Up to eight Stock Doves including one in flamboyant display flight.
A male Kestrel over Leverndale Hospital and a Buzzard near Hawkhead Estate.
First a male, then a female Great spotted Woodpecker at Hawkhead Woodland.
A Kingfisher near Leverndale Hospital gate.
A Treecreeper in Rosshall Park.
Around 20 Fieldfares feeding on stubble.
A pair of Goosanders at Cardonald Place Bridge.
Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch visiting a feeder at Cairnhill.
A Raven on pylons at Hawkhead, then displaying as it flew off over Ralston Farm.
Singing Chaffinch, Wren and Goldcrest. (the latter particularly numerous).
The usual Hoodie hybrid near Bonnyholm Bridge.

Two additions to the "Things you don't expect to see along the cyclepath from Glasgow to Paisley:
A "chain gang" tidying up fallen trees in Rosshall Park
A white line drawing buggy being driven erratically across the football pitches at Bonnyholm.

News from the web is of an early Garganey in Somerset.

NB Some photos added to the entry for 10th Feb - in memorandum

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chauffeuring duties meant a quick round trip to Stirling University this morning. A walk around Airthrey Loch found a single domestic duck agitating the local Mallards, Coots bickering noisily, Oystercatchers back (?) on territory and single Cormorant and Grey Heron. Over near the sports pavilion, a Buzzard flew over and a Raven croaked from nearby crags.



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rooks have got to be one of my favourite birds. They have quite an aristocratic demeanour with their bare faces, peaked crowns and "baggy trousers". Around a dozen were feeding on the municipal grass when I passed through Erskine this morning.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Spent a murky morning and slightly brighter afternoon walking the canal towpaths around Falkirk. Most notable bird on the Union Canal was a male Wood Duck (near where I saw one two years ago) apparently paired to a female Mallard. An hour later, another (or more likely the same) was on the adjacent Forth and Clyde Canal. Other notable sightings included eight Blackbirds along a short stretch of canal-side hedge and two Jays calling noisily in Callendar Park woods.



Friday, February 10, 2012

Murky and still down the Clyde today.

Photos of the gaps where our local trees used to be below...



Thursday, February 09, 2012

Arriving in Crosshouse this afternoon, the edge of the village was alive with birds including Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Collared Dove and Pied Wagtail.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Six Rooks were at Crookston Railway Station first thing this morning. Heading home, a bird fishing in the gloom under the bridge at Mosspark Station may have been one of the Goosanders wintering locally.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Walking to Mosspark train station this morning, a Raven appeared out of the mist from the direction of Pollok Wood and headed, croaking loudly, toward Moulin. Two female-type Goosanders were on the river.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Glasgow sat in a deep pool of fog all day today. Over the moors in Ayrshire, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. Buzzards were regular on the drive down and back (via Greenock).
News from the web is of a new addition to Scotland's herpetology...

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The usual walk from Cardonald over to Hyndland produced lots of singing birds (Starling, House Sparrow, Wren, Mistle Thrush, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin, Woodpigeon, Coal Tit, Blue Tit and Great Tit). Less-often seen species along this route included Collared Dove, Pied Wagtail and Greenfinch. More predictable were two Goosanders and a Dipper at the Benalder Street bridge.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

A rainy walk from Hawkhead to Cardonald produced a number of notable sightings including a Raven feeding with Jackdaws on stubble, a Buzzard in the isolated group of trees at Leverndale, a pair of Goosanders at Rosshall School (and another three near Cardonald Place), a Treecreeper and a Goldcrest feeding at close range near Bonnyholm Bridge, a Chaffinch singing nearby and four Greenfinches in treetops at Silver Glade.






Friday, February 03, 2012

Another day of cloudless skies in west central Scotland. In Greenock, a Dunnock was prompted to break into full song. Heading home, a single Buzzard was standing forlornly in its usual field at Finlaystone.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Two male Goosanders were on the Cart in the centre of Paisley. Meanwhile there was a web report of a Chaffinch singing in Edinburgh and (best of all) it was still light when I arrived home.

Wednesday, February 1, 2011

First of two days working in Paisley saw hard frost, blue skies and no wind.