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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, September 19, 2015

Spent a lovely sunny day walking through the Chalamain Gap and back via Rothiemurchus forest. Highlights were as follows:
Small numbers of Red Grouse flushed by the train as it passed over Drumochter (6 birds in total).
Thee Buzzards from the train between Calvine and Newtonmore.
20 Carrion Crows on stubble at Newtonmore.
50 to 100 Woodpigeons on a newly cut field one mile out of Newtonmore (with around 20 on Kingussie High School Playing Field on the way back).
Four White/Pied Wagtails around the resort area in Aviemore, possibly passage birds.
Seven Rooks and a couple of Jackdaws feeding on grass verges in the main resort complex.
A Meadow Pipit on waste ground behind the former "Santa Claus Land" site.
Bumble Bees gathering pollen from Spear Thistles around the Coire Cas Car Park. Other  plants in flower near there included Devil's Bit Scabious, Common Ragwort, Lady's Mantle, Bell Heather, Common Heather, Bog Ashphodel (past its best) and Common Cottongrass.
Dragonflies active, both over damp moorland and beside forest pools (at least 3-4 species were seen).
Clouds of Midges on the moors plus plenty of other flying insects on the wing (although moths less common than last month and no butterflies seen).
Meadow Pipits still widespread across all upland areas passed through (including in the Chalamain Gap itself.
Red tailed Bumblebee active on upland heathland.
A Raven cronking high over "Chalamain Meadow".
A Dipper on the Allt Druidh where the Chalamain Gap path intersects with the track into the Lairig Ghru.
Common Heather in full bloom in the Scots Pine forest with Bilberry now in fruit (and some Crowberry here and there).
A Song Thrush feeding on the forest floor.
Siskins calling at a few sites.
Coal Tit the most ubiquitous species in the forest, with only one Crested Tit located. 
At least three Crossbills flying overhead and calling from tree tops around the Coylumbridge Hotel complex.
Two or three Mistle Thrushes eating Rowan berries (and rattling noisly) from a tree outside the Rothiemurchus Visitor Centre (with a Blackbird also in attendance).
A showy Great-spotted Woodpecker in a bare tree near Corrour House.
Seven Mallards on the Spey south of Aviemore.
The only hirundine of the day was an unidentified bird (possibly a Swallow or House Martin) over pools west of Dalwhinnie.
The full bird list for the day was: Mallard, Red Grouse, Buzzard, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Raven, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Wren, Dipper, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Pied/White Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, unidentified crossbill and Siskin (27 species).

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