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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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Drove from Greenock to Ayr over lunchtime, Willow Warbler and Blackcap song wafting through the windows.
Heading home, a Kestrel was hovering over the dual carriageway at the Monkton Roundabout. 
At home, two Long tailed Tits repeatedly hovered outside the back windows, picking spiders' webs from the corners of the panes.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A walk from the top of Barrhead back to Cardonald produced a number of interesting sightings including a beautifully marked White Wagtail on Balgray Reservoir, up to 50 mixed hirundines (including two House Martins) on Ryatt Linn and Waulkmill Glen reservoirs, a pair of Dippers on Darnley Burn and a Grey Heron (the third local bird in three days) on the Brock Burn at Pollock.



Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Blackcap and a Chiffchaff were singing at Barshaw Park first thing. Later, several of each species, plus a single Willow Warbler were singing along the river towards Lochar Park. A Grey Heron (the second in two days) was by the river where a pair of Bullfinches flew in.
Managed to add a new species to a neighbouring 1km square - Blackcap in "Cardonald", a singing male which showed itself briefly.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Today started with quite a hard frost (hope my Pelargoniums are OK), The rest of the day was cold but quite bright. The drive over to Paisley at lunchtime produced two Swallows on wires, a singing Grasshopper Warbler and a Raven rising to see off a passing Buzzard.
An evening walk along the river produced all the usual suspects, but a Grey Heron at Bonnyholm Bridge (below) was at a new site. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

An early-morning rattle sounded like a Lesser Whitethroat but was followed by (or morphed into) the first Blackcap song I have heard in my little housing estate this year. This afternoon, while walking through the grounds of Gartnaval Hospital, a female Sparrowhawk swept into a tree, then drifted quietly away. Over at Bingham's Pond, a male and female Goosander looked very settled (are they non-breeders or just late migrants?).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A busy work day today, but managed to pick up a Raven cronking overhead while crossing the IRH car park.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An early meeting at Yorkhill meant a short walk up to the hospital from Benalder Street. No Sand Martins were present at their traditional station on the Kelvin. In Yorkhill Park, a Mistle Thrush was guarding a fledgling which was obviously just out of the nest. Nearby were two singing Willow Warblers and a pair of Blackbirds were desperately trying to defend their nest from a marauding Magpie.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Two Mallards were circling above the traffic in Paisley town centre. Later, a Chiffchaff was singing outside Ailsa Hospital, Ayr.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Headed out early this morning and was at the Lang Craigs car park by 8am. First bird heard on opening the car door was a yaffling Green Woodpecker. Walked up to the craigs to the sound of singing Willow Warbler, Tree Pipit and Song Thrush (the latter, surprisingly, well into double figures). Birds around the craigs included Buzzard, Kestrel and Raven (including a displaying bird). Other notable sightings included Redpoll and Goldcrest. Plants included masses of Primroses and a small patch of Cowslip (or similar). A Chiffchaff at Loch Bowie was the only one heard all morning (outnumbered 20:1 by Willow Warbler).

 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spent the afternoon at friends' in Fullarton Woods, Troon. The local birdsong included contributions from Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Heading home, a Badger was a road casualty on the M77 just before the junction for Newton Mearns.
Back home, the regular singing Chiffchaff has moved round to the front of the house, to be replaced by a singing Willow Warbler at the back.

The final bird count for yesterday's Strathspey trip was 31: Greylag Goose, Mallard, Goldeneye, Red Grouse, Black Grouse, Pheasant, Grey Heron, Buzzard, Curlew, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Carrion Crow, Hooded Crow, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Willow Warbler, Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Robin, White Wagtail (alba), Pied Wagtail (yarrellii), Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Siskin and unidentified crossbill.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Another annual leave day to use up, another trip to Strathspey. This time, walked from the ski car park to Boat of Garten via the Ryvoan Pass, Forest Lodge and Loch Garten (nearly 20 miles). Notable sightings included Red and Black Grouse (the latter lekking at one site), a pair of Hooded Crows at East Croftmore and a mixed group of Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails and a single White Wagtail on a ploughed field at Tulloch. Botanical highlights included a red-fruiting lichen on Scots Pine stumps at Tom da Choimhead and a filamentous orange fungus growing on a Juniper bush at Cuchanlupe.

Impressions of Strathspey in April include:
Its changeable (we had sun, rain and hail in the course of the day).
Its deserted (we saw less than ten people between the Coire na Ciste car park and Tulloch). 
Its slightly greener than earlier in the year, but still predominantly yellow and brown.
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Raven was between Bridge of Weir and Kilmacolm.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Mmmm?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A combination of a very early start and ending the afternoon in Paisley meant getting home slightly earlier than usual. Used the time to walk along the river and found a singing Willow Warbler opposite the estate followed by three Goosanders (two drakes and a female) under the footbridge at Corkerhill Railway Station.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Woke to the sound of a Raven calling overhead at 04:44 (!). Walking through the streets of west Greenock today, the commonest birds seemed to be Jackdaw, Goldfinch, Dunnock and Herring Gull.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Two Collared Doves in the garden today - one with a strange swelling under its chin.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Kingfishers were showing well at three sites along the Cart this morning. Willow Warblers were at two sites (Dykebar and Crookston Castle), Chiffchaffs at four and a Blackcap at one. A Pied Wagtail was feeding among Highland Cattle at the end of Raeswood Road. Surprisingly there were no Kestrels, Buzzards, Sparrowhawks or Ravens seen, in spite of excellent flying weather and three hours spent looking. Goosander was also absent until a drake appeared at Cardonald Place Bridge.
Also notable this morning were flowering Bluebell, Primrose, Cuckoo Flower, Ramsons and Cowslip.




Friday, April 13, 2012

Ahhhhh! Spring in Scotland.........

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A planned trip to search for the Lang Craigs Green Woodpeckers had to be abandoned in favour of a day of gardening. The local Chiffchaff sang more-or-less all day while an alarm-calling Blue Tit and a very confiding Robin also provided some welcome diversion.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

All quiet at the watched Osprey nests this evening. Looks like the female at Loch of the Lowes may have just laid her first egg of this season.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Headed over to a well-known Stirlingshire Black Grouse lek just before dawn. In spite of the drizzle, fourteen Blackcock were present and sparring enthusiastically. At one point, a displaying Curlew landed in the midst of the lekking birds.
A drive along the low road in Glen Fruin took place in worsening weather with sleet falling, and snow lying on nearby hills. The only birds on show were a Hooded Crow half way along the glen and a flock of Redpolls at the Fasslane end.
Ardmore Point was very challenging with driving rain and few birds on show. Highlight was a flock of pipits in a flooded field near the car park.
This afternoon, a walk around Mugdock Park at least took place in sunny eather, but birds were fairly thin on the ground. A drumming Great spotted Woodpecker and a passing Pied Wagtail were the highlights.

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Chiffchaff which has been singing, hidden, behind the house for the past week finally showed itself this afternoon by singing from the topmost branch of a tall Birch tree.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

This morning's walk from Cardonald to Hyndland mainly produced the commoner species but also included Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush and Chiffchaff. Wrens, Goldfinches, Greenfinches and House Sparrows seemed particular numerous. Slightly unusual sightings included a displaying Goldeneye, two Mallards and a Cormorant all at Pacific Quay. Most notable sighting was one that got away - a pipit species moving west at the Transport Museum.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

An early morning walk from Paisley to Cardonald produced four Kingfishers, four singing Chiffchaffs, a drumming Great spotted Woodpecker, Goosanders at two sites and my first Blackcap of the year. Bird of the morning however was Goldfinch, with birds at numerous sites. Redwings and Fieldfares seem to have moved on.

Friday, April 06, 2012

A brief walk around Pollok Park produced a drake Goosander on the river near the cricket pitch (I wonder if his mate is on a nest nearby) and and a Chiffchaff singing near the Visitor Centre.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

No time for natural connectons today, However a quick look at the Loch Garten webcam revealed a pair of crossbills collecting what I assume to be nesting material from the Osprey nest.
News from the watched Osprey sites is that the Glaslyn pair have laid their first egg (a day later than in 2011).

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A Pied Wagtail and a Blackbird were the only company during a long day working in Hamilton.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The day started at 5:15 with a Blackbird singing loudly outside the bedroom window. A brief circuit of the Murdieston Dams at lunchtime revealed two Mute Swan pairs apparently incubating, a Coot pair on an empty nest and three Rook nests in the usual tree. Snow was never far away all day with flurries in Greenock and good coverage on the hills around Loch Lomond.

Monday, April 02, 2012

After a week of record high temperatures ... snow!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Uploaded my Birdtrack sightings to the system. The map below shows the squares visited in the Glenmore area (new squares in black).