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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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Review of 2013: Part 4

A summer holiday in Moray and Aberdeenshire produced many of the best natural connections of the year. The full bird list for the week was 112 species, 26 of which were showing signs of breeding (see here for the details). Missed species included Quail, Grey Partridge, Little Tern, Short-eared Owl and Hen Harrier. Highlights were as follows: point-blank views of a Corn Bunting on a fencepost near Buckie, a pair of Oystercatchers shepherding two fluffy young at Cullen, three juvenile Peregrines in a moorland tree near Carbach, at least three Ospreys fishing Spey Bay, five Whimbrels giving their "seven whistles" nearby, Black Guillemot from the Gemini Explorer out of Buckie harbour, a Peregrine on the cliffs at Troup Head (with up to five Great Skuas and a single Arctic offshore), a Dipper on the stream through Elgin’s Cooper Park, a daytime Tawny Owl near there, a glassy hill loch holding both Red-throated and Black-throated Divers and a legion of Tree Sparrows on the feeders at Strathbeg. The most enduring memories of the holiday were of Swift and Corn Bunting: both species are so rare at home but they were remarkably numerous in the Elgin - Peterhead area. Best sites visited were Loch of Strathbeg and Troup Head, both full of birds.
Non-bird highlights included a Pine Marten across the approach road to Spey Bay, Grey Seals near Bowfiddle Rock, Roe Deer and Red Fox at a couple of sites (plus Hedgehog, Stoat and Badger dead on the road), two pods of Dolphins (including one individual leaping completely clear of the water) and beautiful Burnet Moths at Cullen.

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