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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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A pair of Common Gulls were roosting on the chimney of the tenement where they have nested in the past two years.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Lovely sunset in Paisley this evening. 


Sunday, February 26, 2017

A walk from home to the Woodlands area of Glasgow in damp and rainy conditions found many birds keeping quite quiet. However Wrens and Goldcrests seem to be singing more than of late and both Goldfinch and Long-tailed Tit continue to broadcast their presence almost wherever I go.
In South Cardonald, two pairs of Magpies were nest-building only 50 metres apart. Meanwhile, in Kelvingrove Park, around 40 Redwings were chattering in the treetops. This past week has seen a notable increase in my Redwing sightings, presumably signifying return passage. Four Goosanders were on the Kelvin near Gibson Street but Dipper, Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher continue to elude me (are water levels too high?).

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A day spent walking around the south side of Glasgow produced a pair of Stock Doves near Bellahouston Park Ski Slope, a pair of Collared Doves on Aros Drive, 68 Carrion Crows on flooded grass next to Mosspark Boulevard (and c80 Jackdaws in trees there), c30 Redwings feeding with 15 Starlings under trees near Mosspark Bowling Club, singing Song Thrushes near the House of the Art Lover and in south Cardonald (2), plus Long-tailed Tits at three sites. On the mammal front, a single Roe Deer was grazing on the grass verge of the M77 in Pollok Park and two were just west of Mosspark Station about 5:30pm. Coltsfoot (my first of the year) was flowering on the footbridge over the M8 north of Pollokshields. A further increase in singing birds featured Woodpigeon, Goldcrest, Blue, Great and Coal Tit, Song Thrush, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Starling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch. At the end of the day, 39 Magpies were together in a pre-roost gathering next to the house.

Friday, February 24, 2017

A Sparrowhawk in Rosshall Park and a Buzzard over towards Crookston Castle were the highlights of today's walk.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Plenty of snow on the high ground in Central Scotland during a trip to Edinburgh today.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A lunchtime walk around Paisley town centre produced 20 Redwings feeding under trees on Saucel Hill.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Pied  Wagtail was in the car park of Tesco, Port Glasgow first thing.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A dreich lunchtime walk around Cardwell Bay found all the really interesting birds at the low tide mark and beyond binocular range.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Today's walk from home to Kelvinside produced a Little Grebe and Moorhen on the Cart, singing Chaffinches and Greenfinches in South Cardonald, a Hooded Crow x Carrion Crow in Bellahouson Park, a pair of Woodpigeons on the Clyde and a female Goosander on the Kelvin. As well as Chaffinches and Greenfinches at several sites, other singing birds included Dunnock, Blue, Great and Coal Tit, Woodpigeon, Starling, Robin, Mistle Thrush plus (only) a few Wrens.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Highlights of today's Strathspey trip were as follows:
A Hooded Crow near Drumochter
40 Greylag Geese southwest of Newtonmore station
200 Woodpigeons in a field northeast of Newtonmore Golf Course
Rooks visiting their colonies in Kingussie and Aviemore
18 Whooper Swans scattered around the Insh Marshes
Singing Greenfinches, Chaffinches and Collared Doves in Aviemore
Four Snow Buntings around the Skiers' Car Park below Coire Cas
Eight Bullfinches and a Chaffinch feeding on Birch buds in Rothiemurchus
Two Crested Tits southwest of Lochan Mor with three Goldeneye, eight Mallards, a Grey Heron and a Little Grebe on the lochan itself
232 Greylag Geese, eleven Jackdaws, six Pheasants, six Fieldfares, two Carrion Crows, a Blackbird and a Lapwing on fields next to The Doune
50 Jackdaws in a pre-roost gathering behind Tesco's, Aviemore
Single Goldeneye on the Spey south of Aviemore and on a small lochan southwest of Kingussie

Friday, February 17, 2017

Four Magpies were among the birds raiding the feeders in the back garden. Earlier this week, 80 were in trees next to the estate prior to going to roost.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Noisy packs of Starlings were flying around Seedhill and Hillington at either end of the day. In between, a short working trip to Stirling produced around 200 Woodpigeons flushed from a field behind the railway station. Bird of the day was probably Goldfinch with singing birds at several sites. House Sparrows also seem to be more evident, especially in areas with privet hedges.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Arriving at UWS Paisley this afternoon, a Bullfinch swooped through a gap in a low hedge.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A lunchtime walk around Murdieston Dams produced two Grey Wagtails and three Little Grebes. Numbers of Coots and Mallards had dropped since last month; possibly birds are moving out to start breeding. Up at the cemetery were singing Mistle Thrush, Greenfinch (second of the year) and Goldcrest (first).

Monday, February 13, 2017

Highlight of a short walk in Hamilton town centre this lunchtime was a Pied Wagtail in Guthrie Street car park. This afternoon, a walk through Cardonald and along the river produced a total of five Goosanders.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A short walk around a bitterly cold Mugdock Park produced little of note (the birds presumably having been put off singing by the down-turn in the weather). However a dozen Chaffinches at the Visitor Centre feeders was pleasant surprise. Later, a Pied Wagtail was in the retail park behind the West Scotland Rugby Ground.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The usual walk around Rosshall and Crookston produced a Buzzard and Sparrowhawk in addition to all the usual species. Three pairs of Goosander were near the confluence with the Brock Burn / Levern Water. I wonder if any of them will settle to breed. Probably the most notable record was of a Greenfinch singing very briefly. I haven't recorded one locally for months. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Greylag Geese and Pink-footed Geese were abundant beside the railway tracks during a trip through to a snowy Edinburgh this lunchtime.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

A Grey Wagtail continues to frequent the area immediately north of Greenock West station, possibly attracted by the tiny reservoir in back courts there.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Collared Doves have seemed very rare hereabouts of late. Looking at the last five years' worth of data, it is clear that the first half of the year produces most records. However with nearly six weeks of this year gone, only a single bird has been seen.

(c) Birdtrack / BTO 2017

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Even in torrential rain, a Mistle Thrush was singing in Greenock before dawn. Later, the rain turned to snow, covering the hills all around the town. By late afternoon the rain had washed most of it away.

Monday, February 06, 2017

A frosty morning and a long wait for a connection in Port Glasgow Railway Station produced a  nice dawn chorus featuring Mistle Thrush, Wren, Dunnock and Great Tit.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

A hedge in the centre of Cardonald held at least a dozen House Sparrows at dusk. I am convinced that they prefer areas where privet hedges, particularly overgrown ones, are common. Two Mistle Thrushes were singing loudly from elevated perches.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Lots of birds were in song today including three Mistle Thrushes (one from the wee small hours) and the first Stock Dove of the year.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Bemoaning the lack of Kingfishers in the local area this month. However a check of the month-by-month distribution of my local sightings for the past ten years confims that January and February are the third and second worst months of the year respectively. Only May is worse. April is by far the best month for sightings. Area included is M77 to edge of Paisley.

Birdtrack (C) British Trust for Ornithology

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Suddenly the late afternoons are not as dark anymore.
The usual walk along the river produced two Stock Doves and a Buzzard in Rosshall Park, two singing Mistle Thrushes at separate sites (also Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Coal Tit) a Little Grebe behind the estate and a Sparrowhawk soaring over the house.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

A Sparrowhawk drifted past the top floor office window in Paisley this morning. At lunchtime, Ferguslie Dam held 33 Mallards, six Tufted Ducks, Five Moorhens, three Coots and two Mute Swans.