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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.

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.


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