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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, November 30, 2015

Spent the middle part of today walking in Rothiemurchus Forest. With the recent snow and today's blue skies, the scenery was absolutely stunning. Birds included 30-40 Red Grouse in the Drumochter Pass on the way up (and a similar number of Red Deer in the same area), two Goldeneye on the Spey and six Bullfinches feeding in tall Heather. Lilly Loch held three Goldeneye, three Mallards and a single Tufted Duck, while a Jay screeched nearby. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The rain has been so heavy and persistent that the back garden has flooded for the first time I can remember (at least 7 years).
The scene in Aviemore tonight is a little different...

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A rainy walk along the Kelvin from Woodlands to Kelvin Hall produced two Grey Herons, a Cormorant, a Dipper, a Grey Wagtail, a Redwing and two groups of Redpolls.

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Red Fox raced across Corkerhill Road in front of the car at 10:45pm.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

News from the web is of a light scattering of Waxwings down the east coast of England.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Two Whooper Swans were at Walkinshaw Farm when I passed at lunchtime today.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A clear night in south west Glasgow with frost expected in the morning. Birds visiting the feeders more than usual - presumably building up energy reserves for the cold night ahead.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Today's walk along the River Carron produced an almost full suite of the local water birds consisting of: Mute Swan, Mallard, Domestic Mallard, Teal, Goosander, Goldeneye, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher. Finches and Buntings were also well-represented with Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Siskin, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting all seen. Raptors consisted of Kestrel and Buzzard (4). Eight Roe Deer were also seen (six in one group).


Friday, November 20, 2015

This afternoon, a pair of Bullfinches were finishing off the berries on the Honeysuckle. A look at the Abernethy webcam at lunchtime found the two bullies of the forest in a stand-off over the peanut feeder.

Screenshot of RSPB Abernethy Reserve webcam hosted by carnyx.tv

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Grey Wagtail was on the swollen River Cart in Paisley this lunchtime.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Today's WeBS count of the Murdieston Dams yielded two Goosanders, two Goldeneye and two Cormorants.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The River Cart was swollen to a really exceptionally high level today. Few water birds could cope with the current, and most land birds were keeping out of the rain. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ardmore Point was full of birds today with over 100 Shelduck and 60+ Wigeon in North Bay, at least two Great-crested Grebes and three Slavonian Grebes offshore, Canada Geese, Oystercatchers and Lawings flocking on grazed fields, Greenfinches, Chaffinches and other songbirds feeding in low vegetation and three Mute Swans flying out into the Clyde. Also notable were quite a lot of spume deposited on the tide-line, a pellet wedged in a fence post (presumably a raptor/owl perch) and flowering Red Campion, Scentless Mayweed and Bindweed. A hunting Kestrel was also a nice find. Heading home, a Buzzard and twenty mixed winter thrushes were at Arkleston Farm.

Friday, November 13, 2015

With the temperature dropping to 4 degrees centigrade, the first local snow of the winter was lying in Pollok this evening.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A major movement of Woodpigeons out of the British Isles appears to be underway - do they know something we don't?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Seven Lapwings were glimpsed next to the Heritage Park pond in East Kilbride on the way back from Hamilton this morning. Arriving home, five Bullfinches (including four males) were feeding on Honeysuckle berries in the back garden.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Wet, wet, wet in Greenock / Paisley today. Last night's storm has nearly stripped all the leaves from the trees.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Only a single Great Tit appears to have found the seed feeder in the back garden (with a Dunnock hoovering up the scraps).

Friday, November 06, 2015

A big flock of Feral Pigeons over central Paisley (perhaps 50+ birds) was the only natural connection of a gloomy day today.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

News from the web is of Waxwings at two sites on Shetland, several sightings of juvenile Minke Whales off the west coast of Scotland, at least 3 Humpback Whales also off Shetland and three Merlins on the Isle of May,

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Arrived in Ayr quite early this morning so took a walk around Rozelle Park before starting work. A Jay swooped low across the path and a Grey Heron was roosting on an island. The trees there are a kaleidoscope of colour, especially since there has been no wind recently to blow their leaves off.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

The full bird list for yesterday's walk was as follows: Mute Swan, Pink-footed Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Goosander, Pheasant, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Moorhen, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Raven, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, unidentified crossbill and Siskin (40 species, 39 of which were in Strathspey and Badenoch).
Impressions of Badenoch and Strathspey in October:
It's mild and settled (very unusual).
The landscape is a pallette of autumn colours with the Birches  and Larches yellow, Beeches brown, Oaks a mixture of green, yellow and brown, the Heather purpley-brown and the Bracken fronds a deep bronze.
Flowers are virtually gone but a few Ragwort plants haven't gone completley to seed and the odd Devil's-bit Scabious and Harebell blooms are still here and there.
The Red Squirrel I saw was dark brown in colour - presumably its winter coat.
Birds are mostly in flocks with corvids, thushes and Starlings particularly evident exploiting open areas, especially grazed fields.