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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, October 31, 2015

Today's walk started in Kincraig and finished in Aviemore with detours to Loch Insh, Lochs Beag and Alvie, and the Bogach. Some interesting sightings were as follows:
100 Pink-footed Geese near Forteviot

A Raven at Dalnaspidal

Fifty Jackdaws, twenty Rooks and thirty Starlings in fields at Ballachroan

20 Rooks in trees at Kingussie station

A Red Squirrel in gardens at Kincraig

Forty-one Mallards, two Mute Swans, two Teal and a Goldeneye at the north east end of Loch Insh

A Moorhen, a Kingfisher, a Goosander and a Goldeneye on the Spey at Kincraig

Seventy Redwings at The Brae, Kincraig, 50 in Speybank, 60 at Kinrara and smaller numbers at other sites.

A loose flock of birds consisting of 30 Redwing, a Fieldfare, five Chaffinches, ten Blackbirds, two Great-spotted Woodpeckers, two Blue Tits, two Great Tits, a Coal Tit and a Robin moving through bushes between Dalraddy Moor and the chalet park

A Meadow Pipit on Dalraddy Moor with 40 Jackdaws heading west overhead

Five Goldeneye (a male and four brownheads), two pairs of Wigeon and a pair of Mallard on Loch Beag

A flotilla of seven Goldeneye (all brownheads) on Loch Alvie

A female Bullfinch behind Kinrara Croft

Two Orange Peel Fungus cups on the path near the railway viaduct over the Allt Dibheach

A party of at least four Long-tailed Tits near the Bogach Cottage

A Tufted Duck on the Bogach 

A Sparrowhawk being mobbed by a crow over Aviemore

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Still very mild here in SW Glasgow. Only Magpies have found the newly-stocked bird feeders (birdtrack).

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The garden feeders have been up for the past 48 hours but the local birds don't seem to have found them yet. Unseasonably warm weather may be a factor.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A lovely harvest moon was beaming over the Clyde as I drove home this evening.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Four Fieldfares were on wires at Arkleston Farm this afternoon.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A few Redwings were flitting around the treetops during a short walk along the river today.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Finally got around to uploading the sightings from the trip to Strathspey on 14th October. Here are the highlights:
A Red Grouse at Balsporran Cottage.
Much less colour in the landscape with Heather turned brown, Rosebay Willow Herb faded (but with orangey-red stalks), grass brown/yellow, Birches yellowing and the only bright colour being from the last of the Ragwort.
Four Rooks squabbling in pines (possibly nest sites) beside the Strathspey Hotel.
Around 50 Jackdaws wheeling around the Strathspey Hotel at 11:15am.
A Grey Heron stalking the sedge beds in the old reservoir on the Craigellachie reserve.
Devil’s Bit Scabious providing almost the only colour in the woods at Craigellachie, except for the Birch leaves blanketing the paths.
Three Goldfinches on thistles near the angling pond in the hotel complex.
Aviemore gardens full of autumn colour.
15 Rooks on Nethybridge Playing Field.
Rooftop Starlings in Grantown on Spey singing in the sunshine.
Fifteen Mallards on Grant Park Lochan.
Two Roe Deer crossing the path in Kylntra Woods.
A Pied Wagtail (very scarce compared to last month) among cattle behind Speybridge Smokehouse.
Birch woods along the Speyside Way noticeably quiet. No sign of any thrushes in the Rowan trees which might well have already been stripped anyway, judging by the small amount of fruit left. Birch leaves and Aspen leaves strewn on the paths under their respective trees.
Still lots of Aspen leaves on the trees, quivering and rustling in the wind.
Three Goosanders on the Spey at Inverallan House.
Three Goldeneye on the Spey behind Craggan Golf Course.
Small numbers of Mistle Thrushes on rough grassland at Ballefurth.
Thirteen Feral Pigeons over Balliefurth Farm.
Two Yellowhammers just north of Nethybridge.
A Goosander and a Goldeneye on the Nethy just before its merge with the Spey.
Up to five Dippers between the outskirts of Nethybridge and Broomhill Bridge.
A female Sparrowhawk disturbed from trees over the Nethy by a startled Goldeneye.
Fifty Rooks milling around (possibly nesting) trees and pylons at Coulnakyle Farm north of Nethybridge.
At least four Long-tailed Tits in a flock of at least 29 birds in the woods by the Nethy north of Nethybridge.
Ninety Jackdaws and 25 Rooks were in the cattle field north of Broomhill Bridge.
Two Bullfinches (a pair) skulking in a hedgerow north of Nethybridge.
Fields of ripe but unharvested Oats and Wheat between Nethybridge and Broomhill (with an unfamiliar weed along the field edges).
The full bird list for the day was: Mallard, Goldeneye, Goosander, Red Grouse, Pheasant, Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Starling, Dipper, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Robin, House Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Yellowhammer (32 species).

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A couple of windy nights recently may have been responsible for the single Wigeon and Mediterranean Gull (below) which were on Town Dam today. Also present on Cowdenknowes Dam were single Little Grebe and Goldeneye. Mallard, Coot and Tufted Duck were present in good numbers and Black-headed Gulls have started to build up.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Rain replaced yesterday's frost today. Starlings were singing in Greenock during the sunny spells. It is still incredibily mild with temperatures of 20+ degrees forecast for tomorrow.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Awoke to the first significant frost of the year with the car windows completely iced up. Unfortunately the day was spent doing paperwork in advance of returning to work tomorrow, so natuaral connections were severely limited. Nevetheless a Raven flew low over the house about lunchtime. This is becoming a regular occurence and suggests we might be on an established flight line.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A day spent touring the Scottish Scenic Route in the Lomond and Trossachs National Park was mainly taken up with scenery and architecture, but some good birds consisted of a Jay south of Crianlarich and Little Grebes on both Loch Voil and Loch Lubnaig.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Another mild day - spent working in the garden. A centipede was under the back step and a few hoverflies were still buzzing about the last of the Honeysuckle and Policeman's Helmet. More Redwings slipped overhead as dusk approached.

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Great-spotted Woodpecker was over the garden fence this afternoon. Redwings were flying over as dusk fell.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The trip north yesterday produced the usual fare in the form of roadside Pheasants between Perth and Blair Atholl and a single Red Grouse south of Dalwhinnie.
A Grey Heron was the main sighting during a walk around Craigellachie while waiting for the bus.
Grant Park Lochan in Grantown on Spey held only Mallards with no sign of the Moorhens, Coots or Goldeneye sometimes reported from there.
The walk from the smokehouse to the outskirts of Nethybridge failed to produceany winter thrushes (unlike previous years). Certainly the Rowan trees held relatively few berries - I wonder if the birds have been through the area already.
Notable birds on the river were five Goldeneye and four Goosander. The Nethy held at least two Dippers (plus another Goldeneye and another Goosander) and the Spey at Broomhill held two more Dippers.
The farmland around Nethybridge held a female Sparrowhawk, a pair of Bullfinches and two Yellowhammers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Spent today walking in the Grantown on Spey / Nethybridge area. Report to follow.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Six Grey Herons were on the mud at West Ferry this evening.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Driving down Byres Road, Glasgow at lunchtime today, a Buzzard appeared from behind the tenements, flapping laboriously as it gained height, pursued by 30 or so assorted Carrion Crows and  Jackdaws. A stirring sight, missed by the shoppers below.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Raven flew low over the house in South Cardonald this morning.

Friday, October 09, 2015

News from the web is of winter geese flooding into Scotland with a spectacular showing of the Aurora borealis as a backdrop. 
A Cormorant was at the Hammils in Paisley this lunchtime - the first I've seen there since the spring.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

No sign or sound of any Redwing passage over south Cardonald tonight. (There had been local passage reported last night).

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Two Kestrels were on the wing at Stewartfield Farm, between East Kilbride and Hamilton, in the half-light this morning.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

A Raven flew through the university campus this afternoon and spent some time perched on the spire of Orr Church.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Smirry rain all day today - what a change from the past week or so.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

A very distinctive Jackdaw covered with white marks swooped in front of the car near Pollok Roundabout today.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

An afternoon walk around Pollok Park produced two Kingfishers in a harem-scarem chase up and down the river. Other birds were difficult to find. Actually, there were more birds in the centre of Cardonald where Starlings, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows and gulls were scavenging for scraps.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Two Grey Wagtails were on the river in Paisley with another over the arts centre and a Pied Wagtail in the UWS 'quad'.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

A walk along Greenock esplanade at lunchtime found the sea absolutely full of small fish. Some were twisting and darting about to reveal their silver sides, glinting in the sunshine. The majority were just drifting in huge, static groups. I have never seen so many fish in such a small area - and I guess those numbers may have been multiplied many times along the length of the esplanade.