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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, January 23, 2016

Spent a very pleasant day in Badenoch, walking from Kingussie to Kincraig via the Insh road. Interesting sightings included:
A Dipper on a swollen Spey under Ruthven Bridge
A Red Squirrel carrying a mouthful of lichen up a bank just south of Ruthven Bridge
23 Lapwings in a loose flock out on the Gordonhall Mashes (with 40+ Mallards and at least two Wigeon)
Two Mistle Thrushes, a Redwing and a Fieldfare feeding in the horses’ field near Ruthven Barracks
Twelve Whooper Swans feeding at the "back" of a well-flooded Insh Marshes
63 Wigeon in front of the "Lookout" 
Ten Herring Gulls heading up the Spey near Kingussie
A hybrid Hooded Crow x Carrion Crow with three Carrion Crows at Dell of Killiehuntley (with 28 Greylag Geese and a noisy flock of 50+ Jackdaws also there)
A Raven over Tromie Bridge
A single Grey Heron out on the marsh west of Lynchlaggan
A singing Collared Dove in Insh (with another singing bird in Aviemore at the end of the day)
Flocks of Long-tailed Tits in Insh (3) and near the Aviemore Orbital Path (8) 
A remarkable concentration of 20+Tufted Ducks, 30+ Goldeneye and at least one Pochard in the south west corner of Loch Insh (presumably displaced from neighbouring waters by the recent freezing conditions)
23 Greylags at Balnacraig Farm
A full Hooded Crow at Balnacraig Farm
Two Cormorants on a small spit of land just east of where Dunachton Burn flows into Loch Insh
Now nine Domestic Mallards at the Water Sports Centre on Loch Insh (I have only seen six there in the past)
A singing Collared Dove in Aviemore
A hybrid Hooded Crow x Carrion Crow near the Scandinavian village in Aviemore
Eight Long-tailed Tits near the Aviemore orbital path
A flock of ten Goldfinches near the Aviemore orbital path
A single Great Black-backed Gull over Aviemore
Fifty Jackdaws congregating over Aviemore prior to going to roost.
The bird list for the day was as follows: Whooper Swan, Greylag Goose, Wigeon, Mallard, Domestic Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Pheasant, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Hooded Crow, hybrid Carrion x Hooded Crow, Raven, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Starling, Dipper, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Siskin (37 species). 

Impressions of Strathspey and Badenoch in January:
There are lost of birds about (37 species was a good total for this time of the year, no doubt helped by the mild weather).
There is some birdsong (not nearly as much as in the central belt) with both Collared Dove and Great Tit the main species heard.


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