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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.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A walk up to Lyle Hill this lunchtime produced Siskins at three different sites - suggesting a recent influx.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A walk along the river this afternoon saw 50 Woodpigeons flying overhead, all heading east. A Black-headed Gull was a slightly unusual visitor this late in the year.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Some of the highlights of Saturday's Strathspey trip were as follows:
- Some good train sightings including a pair of Mute Swans at Denning, a Buzzard in the Drumochter Pass, Rooks, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Woodpigeons and a Pheasant on new stubble east of Newtonmore and a Grey Heron just before Loch Insh.
- Plenty of birds along the Spey heading north from the centre of Aviemore including two mixed tit flocks, plenty of Mallards and seven Goosanders, Robin probably the commonest (and certainly the most audible) bird, a Mistle Thrush, a Blackbird and two Robins under a Rowan tree, Siskins in the treetops and flying over, a single Long-tailed Tit and a single Hoodie Hybrid.
- Plenty of insect life along the river including lots of small craneflies, a few day-flying moths and a single Black Darter.
- A small selection of late flowers (all being avidly exploited by a variety of true flies and hoverflies) including Devil's Bit Scabious, Ragwort and Hawkweed.
- Some striking bee flies and a big, golden Bumblebee all feeding on Devil's Bit Scabious.
- Some interesting fungi including a white, tea-plate sized species under a stand of Birch.
- Four adult Great Black-backed Guls, ten adult Herring Gulls, numerous juveniles of (presumably) both species plus Jackdaws, Rooks and Carrion Crows (and a single Hoodie Hybrid) on Granish Dump.
Some Birch and Aspen leaves yellowing (but others still green).
- Sixteen Woodpigeons on Rabbit-cropped turf.
- Ten Starlings in a flock at Lochan Mor housing estate.
- Seven Pied Wagtails, three White Wagtails and three Meadow Pipits in the hose field next to the SNH Headquarters at the north end of the village.
- Another tit flock containing ten Long-tailed Tiits and two Goldcrests.
At least three Dor Beetles crossing the north orbital path. 
- NO Collared Doves, Greenfinches, Kingfisher.

Imressions of Strathspey in September.
- The sunny weather gave a late summer / early autumn feel with clouds of insects and thistledown in the air.
- Grasses now yellowed but trees mostly still green.
- Few plants in flower - some of the richest colour was provided by the red stems of dead willowherb plants.
- No hirundines, Black-headed Gulls having deserted cental Aviemore, lots of Rabbits.

A damp walk along the river this afternoon found the first fallen Oak leaves of the autumn on the path. Robins were singing and Blackbirds seemed more numerous than of late.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Despite a rather dubious weather forecast, today's trip to Aviemore actually turned out to be mostly fine. in fact, there were clouds of insects present along the Spey through Dalfaber and the thistle down in the air also contributed to the late summer feel.

Friday, September 23, 2016

A stop off at Pow Burn on the way to a pick up at Prestwick Airport was too brief to produce much of interest except a couple of sizeable flocks of Starlings exploring the horse fields.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A quick walk past Bingham's Pond this afternoon found only the usual waterbirds langishing in the late summer sunshine. The Feral Pigeons around there are quite an assortment of colours compared to here in south Cardonald.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A change in the weather today to much cooler conditions.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Pink-footed Geese are pouring into and through Scotland.

Monday, September 19, 2016

A beautiful sunrise in Gourock this morning was followed by a fine day

A quick look around Murdieston Dams found numbers of ducks and Coots dropping from their late summer highs. An unusual sight was a Brown Rat feeding among the Mallards.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Another unidentified moth blundered into the house this evening.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Three house Martins first thing.Walk from Glengogyne to Balfron produced a Kestrel catching a rodent, two Grey wagtails along the Endrick, thirty Goldfinches on thistles there and twenty Linnets in a ploughed field at Balfron.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Heading for the early train this morning, noticed two House Martins noisily arriving in the vicinity of the local colony to intercept a Magpie which had strayed too close to the nest. Presumably this indicates that there is still a brood to fledge.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

An evening walk along the river found one House Martin still around.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The journey north from London to Glasgow took place in glorious sunshine.

A glorious day in London today. The temperature in Southwark at lunchtime was 30 degrees.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The only natural connection of a busy working day in London was after dark when an unseen Common Sandpiper trilled from a small beach on the Thames between Blackfriars and the Millenium bridges.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Arrived in a warm and sunny London after a journey south under clear blue skies. Only notable sightings were of a Buzzard in the Lake District and some Canada Geese beside a mere in Cheshire.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Oldhall still held one Swallow and a couple of House Martins this morning, the latter attending a nest on No. 50, Dunchurch Avenue. Also in the area were good numbers of House Sparrows.
In the park and along the river were up to five Kingfishers, a Grey Heron and four Moorhens (including two on the stretch behind the house). A Raven was patrolling low overhead, cronking repeatedly and somersaulting once. Eventually it settled on the telecommunications mast between Dundee Drive and the railway and proceeded to call loudly, off and on, for at least ten minutes. 
The Kingfishers were particularly noisy and may have bee dispersing young birds or perhaps family parties not yet split up. Certainly they were unmissable, a fact entirely in keeping with the Birdtrack reporting rate peak which happens at this time of year.

An afternoon walk in Barshaw Park produced a feeding Blackbird. They have been virtually invisible recently (as confirmed by the Birdtrack graph of reporting rate) - presumably due to the annual moult.

Friday, September 09, 2016

A female Sparrowhawk was in a dramatic aerial dogfight with four Magpies over central Paisley this morning.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

An interesting visitor to the planters at the front of the house.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Impossibly balmy night this evening.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

A brief stop at Cloch Point this lunchtime produced around 15 Gannets, a Shag, a few Black-headed Gulls and a single Manx Shearwater. Heading back to Paisley, a Sandwich Tern was at the Timber Cages.

Monday, September 05, 2016

A single House Martin (a juvenile, judging by its call) was feeding over South Cardonald at dusk.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Eight Swallows were feeding between the tall buildings in Hamilton town centre this afternoon.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Today started at Baron's Haugh where a good selection of waders included Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Curlew, Lapwing and Greenshank. Over at Ardmore Point, the highlights were three White Wagtails and three Little Egrets. The plant and insect life there was fantastic.
Heading home, a detour along Cardonld Gardens found at least two adult House Martins still feeding at least one nestling.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Lots of activity around the Murdieston Dams today with two Pied Wagtails on the grassy banks and Amphibious Bistort (Persicaria amphibia) flowering in the shallows.
Back in Paisley, an excellent 22 House Sparrows were feeding on spilt grass seed in the quadrangle at UWS.

Thursday, September 01, 2016