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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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A very quick walk around the block was all that a very busy work day permitted.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Monday, November 28, 2016

A walk around Battery Park today produced only a few Eider and a Red-breasted Merganser. 
The full species list for Saturday was:Mallard, Goosander, Buzzard, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Waxwing, Wren, Starling, Dipper, Blackbird, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Hawfinch and Siskin (28 species).

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A morning walk along the river found evidence of a recent influx of Goosanders with up to eight between the Cardonald Place and Bonnyholm bridges and one nearer Howford Bridge.Also present included a single Cormorant (which circled overhead before splashing down at Moulin playing fields) a single Grey Heron and a Moorhen which took refuge in a tree to escape a dog.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Today's Strathspey trip began with a walk around the north end of Aviemore. Well over 100 Waxwings were congregating in tall trees in the grounds of the SNH Headquarters and flying from there to feed on berries at street level. Other birds in the area including very good numbers of Starling, Blackbird, Rook and Jackdaw. Seven Collared Doves were gathered in one tree and up to 20 Herring Gulls circled overhead.
The rest of the day was spent in the Grantown-on-Spey area, starting at the old Spey Bridge. A Dipper was singing well from one of the bridge supports and two Goosanders were on the river. The tail of a large fish showed twice above the surface, suggesting spawning activity. 
Walking downstream, a small group of birders had congregated in the area where a group of Hawfinches had been reported. Two birds were on show with reports of at least 14 seen earlier in the day. Nearby was another Goosander and a feeding Dipper. 
Heading upstream, four more Goosanders and another Dipper were on the river. 
Impressions of Strathspey in November:
It is damp and dark.
There are LOTS of birds about, mostly moving and feeding.
The trees are now all but bare. Rich chestnut-coloured leaves are carpeting the ground under Beech trees.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The very cold weather of recent days was presumably responsible for bringing a female Tufted Duck (a scarce visitor) to the river behind the house.

A third day of very cold weather...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

A male Kestrel was beside the M8 at Longhaugh Point this lunchtime.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Five or six photographers were positioned along Clunie Road, Bellahouston this afternoon, much to the amusement of the local residents. Overhead, around 20 Waxwings commuted back and forth to some roadside Rowans.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A run down to Troon found nine species of wader present between the tip of the peninsula and the middle of town. Best sightings involved seven Golden Plovers on some rocks, seventeen Knot opposite the last car park, at least four Purple Sandpipers (including two feeding with Rock Pipits and turnstones on piles of seaweed) and six Sanderling waiting for the tide to go out.

Friday, November 18, 2016

A walk around rainy Murdieston Park found four Goldeneye (including an adult drake in breeding plumage) and three Little Grebes had arrived since the previous visit.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Arriving back in Glasgow this evening, a quick look around Mosspark produced none of the reported Waxwings, only some confusing groups of Starlings.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Six Goldfinches were the only sighting of a damp walk to the London Campus this morning.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Birds in Nelson Square SW1 this morning consisted of Blue Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail and Goldfinch plus the usual Feral Pigeons and Herring Gulls.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Grey Squirrel was on Blackfriars Road on the way to work this morning.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The only notable sighting on the train journey to London this morning was a single Kestrel somewhere in Cumbria.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Lots of Black-headed Gulls on the Clyde at Govan this afternoon.

Friday, November 11, 2016

It was good to get some fresh air during a break from today's study day in Glasgow. Headed up to Spier's Wharf to see if there were any Waxwings on the berry trees there. Only Fieldfares, Redwings and Blackbirds were present, although I see that birds have been reported from Bellahouston so may try there tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

A Kestrel was hovering over the motorway verge between Longhaugh Point and West Ferry first thing. By mid-afternoon, snow (the first of the winter) was falling in Greenock and it continued to snow all evening in south Glasgow.

Monday, November 07, 2016

A walk around part of a sunny but bitterly cold Ardmore Point this lunchtime found the sand and mud covered in waders and plenty of Teal and Wigeon in the shallows. A Hooded Crow X Carrion Crow hybrid on the far shore and four Brent Geese giving really close views from the path were probably the highlights.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

There were even more Redwings and Fieldfares flitting round the conference venue on the Leicestershire / Northamptonshire border this morning. Heading home this evening, a Kestrel carrying a rodent flew across the M6 near the M62 turn-off.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Lots of Fieldfare and Redwing plus a few Blackbird and a Mistle Thrush here in rural South Leicestershire. Two Pied Wagtails were bickering on the roof of the conference venue.

Working in rural Leicestershire for a couple of days. The habitat around here looks ideal for Little Owl but a dusk walk failed to produce any calls (but a glorious, starry sky was some consolation).

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Another busy bird day in the garden. Nothing special but good to see so many of the common species around.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

A day spent working at the dining room table. The bird feeders are now up for the winter and attracted a succession of visitors including at least four Coal Tits.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The sunny weather in Greenock today encouraged Starlings, Goldfinches and Blue Tits to start singing and a Jackdaw to inspect a chimney pot.