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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.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Two Swifts were sailing quietly high over the back garden this evening. Down on the river, six young Goosanders looked like they must have been reared locally. Meanwhile two House Martins were briefly over their breeding colony.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The day started with a male Ghost Moth (Hepialus humuli humuli) which fell out of a bush and landed on the pavement in front of me (no doubt exhausted from a night of lekking under the street lamps). 
Later, at least 30 Pied Wagtails were gathering in a small group of trees at Silverburn Shopping Centre just before dusk (with probably many more in adjacent trees).

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Spent a bit of time in Govan this morning and managed to find two active House Martin nests on buildings in Napier Drive. Two Sand Martins and two Swallows were feeding nearby, but I was unable to locate their nests. A Whitethroat was singing at Govan Graving Docks. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

A walk along the Union Canal from Wester Hailes to Fountainbridge produced some interesting records including three singing Chiffchaffs (but no Willow Warblers), several Mallards with young (some possible second broods), a pair of Mute Swans with seven cygnets, a Bee-mimicking Hoverfly sp. on a canal-side umbellifer and a Swift visiting a hole in a tenement in Polwarth. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Two House Martins over central paisley, two swallows over the eastern edge of Barshaw Park and a House Martin over Oldhall were the highlights of a busy day.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Two or three House Martins were again visiting houses in Cardonald Gardens.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lesser Black-backed Gull chicks were out on the rooftops in Port Glasgow first thing.
This evening, at least two Oystercatchers were alarm calling near Tesco store in Silverburn Shopping Centre, suggesting that they may have had young somewhere. A Pied wagtail was giving its soft roosting call nearby.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Seven Swifts were high over south Cardonald at 21:30 today, screeching and feeding in the simmer dim.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The heady scent of Privet flowers in the sun in Cardonald today took me back to my childhood in West Pilton when summers were long and every garden had a privet hedge.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A two-hour walk through the west end of Glasgow again failed to locate any Swifts, although Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Stock Dove were all present along the Kelvin (as were several singing Chiffchaffs but no Willow Warblers).

Saturday, June 17, 2017

After a positive Willow Warbler-fest in Strathspey this week, a walk along the river in south Cardonald / Crookston this morning yielded three Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps and two Whitethroats (but no Willow Warblers at all).
Other species included four Stock Doves, single Kingfishers at three sites, a Mallard with a brood of five young and a Grey Heron (and flowering Guelder Rose).
A Ladybird was an unusual visitor to the front garden. 


Friday, June 16, 2017

The full bird list for the 42 hours we spent in Strathspey this week was as follows:

Domestic Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Teal, Mallard, Domestic Mallard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Pheasant, Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Buzzard, Osprey, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Curlew, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Cuckoo, Tawny Owl, Swift, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Long-tailed Tit, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, Wren, Starling, Dipper, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Robin, Redstart, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Lesser Redpoll, unidentified crossbill, Goldfinch, Siskin and Yellowhammer (64 species).
Mammals and other wildlife as follows:
Two Red Squirrels were near the Abernethy Trust complex and another four were showing well at the Inshriach "potting shed". Two vole spp. scampered across the back road to Forest Lodge. Two Rabbits were on a patch of grass at the tourist car park in Kingussie. Single Roe Deer were seen at several places including the woods between Rynettin and Forest Lodge and in fields along the road between Nethybridge and Broomhill. A small bat sp. was circling one of the Abernethy Trust lodges at dusk.
Several Common Toads were on roads near the Abernethy Trust complex after dark (but no mammalian or insect life).
Two (probable) Large Red Damselflies were mating over the pond at Inshriach.
A Chimney Sweeper moth was near Altmore House, Nethybridge. 
A Silver-Ground Carpet Moth was at Rynettin.
Bog Beacon fungus (Mitrula elegans) was in a drainage channel at Forest Lodge
Cotton Grass was flowering near Ryvoan bothy.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A morning walk around the conifer plantation to the east of the Abernethy Trust estate produced a single Chimney Sweep moth and plenty of common birds including Wren, Chaffinch, Willow Warbler, Siskin, Goldcrest, Blackcap, Mistle Thrush (including a fledged juvenile) and Coal Tit (including a family party).
The road past Castle Roy added farmland birds including Oystercatcher, House Sparrow (nesting in the castle walls), Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Jackdaw, Swallow, Meadow Pipit andded Biting Stonecrop (Sedum acre) and Wall Rue.
Back at the Abernethy Trust estate, two Spotted Flycatchers were feeding along the woodland edge.
Various stops in the course of the afternoon produced further interesting species as follows:
Kincraig: Goldeneye (female with brood of small, actively diving young), Osprey visiting possible nest site.
Inshriach: Goldfinch plus singing Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldcrest. Two dark damselflies.
Feshiebridge: Buzzard.
Loch Insh: Black-headed Gull (19), Herring Gull (1), Common Sandpiper (1), Mallard (4), Goldeneye (1) pluse Tree Pipit, Goldcrest and Carrion Crow.
Glebe Ponds: Mallard (40+ including two broods of young), Domestic Mallard (2), Domestic Greylag Goose (2), Moorhen (adult plus one large and 2-4 small young - indicating two broods).
Insh Marshes: Grey Heron, Black-headed Gull (at least 20 AONs), Redshank, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Pheasant, Teal, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose (7) and Swift (2).
Spey bridge, Kingussie: Dipper, Common Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail and Sand Martin (plus 20 Rooks nearer the town and two Rabbits at the visitor car park. 
Drumochter Pass: two Feral Pigeons flying north.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A brief watch from the balcony of the lodge on the Abernethy Trust estate first thing produced singing Woodpigeon, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Song Thrush, Wren and Chaffinch plus feeding/hunting House Sparrow, Swallow, House Martin and Blackbird. Also recorded were Collared Dove, Starling, Carrion Crow, Goldfinch and Siskin.
A long walk from Forest Lodge to Ryvoan Bothy began in the forest where bird species included Chaffinch (Singing), Wren (S), Tree Pipit (S), Redstart (S), Goldcrest (S), Willow Warbler (S), Coal Tit (S), Crested Tit (family group), Great Spotted Woodpecker and Crossbill (7). Birds on and beyond the forest edge consisted of Meadow Pipit, Robin, Siskin and Cuckoo. A female Mallard was near the bothy and a Little Grebe was on a pathside lochan, feeding a single chick. Additional birds on the open ground at Rynettin consisted of Pied Wagtail, Mistle Thrush and Redpoll. A brief stop in Boat of Garten added Rook, Jackdaw and singing Greenfinch. Arriving back at Nethybridge, a Roe Deer was in a field near Broomhill and two Red squirrels were chasing through the trees.
An early evening walk around the Abernethy Trust grounds found all the species recorded first thing plus Pied Wagtail (an adult feeding a fledged juvenile), a Blue Tit entering a nest box, a Yellowhammer singing in the direction of the golf course, a single Black-headed Gull flying over and three Swifts over the main building.
Later in the evening, a walk around Nethybridge after dark produced several Common Toads on the road and a Tawny Owl calling with growling, begging calls also heard.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

In Paisley, three Ravens (the two juveniles and one adult) spent the morning hanging around the tower of CMBC. A single Swift screamed through, closely followed by two silent birds.
In Nethybridge, bats moths and midges (@#$&*) were all abroad at dusk. Black-headed Gulls flew over as it got dark, presumably heading to Loch Garten to roost.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Eleven Swifts and six Sand Martins were feeding over Cowdenknowes Dam in cool weather at lunchtime. Coots, Mute Swans and Mallards all had broods on the water.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Another extended walk through the west end of Glasgow again failed to produce any Swifts. A Whitethroat still singing at Festival park and a Chaffinch singing in Kelvingrove Park were the only highlights.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Spent most of a sunny afternoon in the Hyndland and Hillhead areas, but didn't see or hear any Swifts. Apart from a single bird a few weeks ago, I have no records of Swift in the west end of Glasgow this year.

Friday, June 9th, 2017

At least three Ravens were still in the vicinity of the nest site in Paisley today.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

The bees and hoverflies have discovered the flowering bush in the back garden. I expect many more - if the weather improves a little.

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

The Blue Tits probably fledged from the nest box today (or in the early hours of 7th).

Monday, June 05, 2017

At least three Ravens were in the area around the Paisley nest at lunchtime today. Six House Martins were over the council buildings and later, three Swifts screamed through the university campus.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Sand Martins were visiting probable nest sites at Govan Pier and Benalder Street Bridge. Birds were also present under several of the bridges over the Kelvin as far as Gibson Street. Four Swallows were feeding low over the grass in Elder Park with another along the verge near the Science Centre. The new footpath extension at Govan is now open (below).


Saturday, June 03, 2017

An afternoon walk up to Lang Craigs produced a male Stonechat plus Kestrel, Raven and Buzzard. Singing birds included Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, Chiffchaff,  Willow Warbler and Blackcap. A Great-spotted Woodpecker and a flock of Siskin were near the house. Loch Bowie held one brood each of Mute Swan (7) and Little Grebe (2). A single plant of Navelwort was high up on the crags.

Friday, June 02, 2017

A short walk around the QMU campus south of Musselburgh before work this morning produced nesting House Martin, hatched Mallard ducklings and singing Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting. This evening, two Swifts were high over the back garden.The adult Blue Tits continue to ferry caterpillars to their brood.


Thursday, June 01, 2017

The back garden Blue Tits were still begging for food. Thankfully, the local magpies and woodpeckers seem to be leaving them alone.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Two Sand Martins, three House Martins and a Swift were over the Cart in central Paisley at lunchtime. Twelve House Martins were over the colony in south Cardonald at dusk.