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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, August 31, 2017

A Swallow was at Arkleston Farm this evening.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

All quiet in Paisley this lunchtime, although I wondered if I'd heard a Swallow twittering over.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A very quick look around Town Dam, Greenock this lunchtime today produced tow site first for me; a Tufted Duck with a brood of three young and a juvenile Teal.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Three Ospreys were over the M8 east of Langbank first thing. One had caught a large fish and was being pursued by the second. The third was half a mile further along.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A calling Willow Warbler was outside the house first thing. Later, Long-tailed Tits were moving noisily through the foliage at Kelvingrove Park.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A trip to the Helix Park in Falkirk this lunchtime produced Common Darter, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot and Mute Swan with four Swallows overhead. Later, three more Swallows were over Falkirk town centre.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Ten or so Swallows were still twittering cheerfully in the rain over the garden centres up the Clyde Valley this lunchtime.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

A lunchtime walk around the David Marshall Lodge produced a few interesting sightings including a Blue Damselfy at the pond, a Raven low over the car park and a female Sparrowhawk sending flocks of Chaffinches and Siskins panicking through the treetops. The monitors in the visitor centre were showing live pictures from the Osprey nest where the two fledged juveniles were still present. There were also recorded images from the Peregrine eyrie where three young seem to have been raised this year.
The five miles of road south of Aberfoyle produced at least two and possibly four dead Hedgehogs. Not a very nice thing to see but at least possibly indicative of a healthy population. 
Aberfoyle itself had a Kingfisher on the river and around 30 Swallows still twittering around the Forth Inn (and picking up insects from the tarmac below). A confiding Raven in the car park had a green ring on its left leg. I couldn't quite read the writing but I did wonder if it was a domesticated bird, possibly part of the menagerie at the nearby Scottish Wool Centre.

Wednesday, August 24, 2017


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

As the plane descended through three distinct layers of heavy grey cloud, there couldn't have been a starker contrast between the sunshine of the Costa del Sol and the miserable weather in Glasgow.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Spent the day walking on the hill named Mount Calamorra which sits above Benalmadena. At 771 metres it is high enough to support an interesting montane flora, although I visited too late in the season to see it at its best.
The cable-car ride up gave a good overview of the vegetation with dry scrub on the exposed slopes and lusher pine forest in the gullies. At the top, the only birds present were a flock of around 30 Siskin. However as a squall blew in,  a group of 20 Bee Eaters came through, moving south and continually calling to each other.
Heading down the mountain, wildlife included Red-tailed Skink, a large Cricket with pale blue wings and various butterflies (including a Swallowtail and an equally impressive white species). The plant life was very varied and most notable for the range of protective strategies on display including thorns, "furry" foliage, downy insulation, cushion habit, succulent leaves and aromatic foliage. Perhaps the most interesting species was a dwarf palm which seemed to be able to thrive in all but the most exposed spots.
Bird life was mostly invisible with plenty of squeaks and squawk heard (but only one species,  Jay, identifiable with any certainty). A probable Griffin Vulture soared over the top.
Arriving in Belamadena, a Peasenhall was lurking in the municipal bushes.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


Saturday, August 19, 2017


Fiday, August 18, 2017


Friday, August 18, 2017


Thursday, August 17, 2017


Wednesday, August 16, 2017



Tuesday, August 15, 2017



Sunday, August 13, 2017

Another day, another Chiffchaff. This one calling from trees behind Silverburn shopping centre, Pollok. Two Kingfishers and a Willow Warbler at Lochar Park.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A white butterfly flew through the garden today.

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Chiffchaff was calling in the trees on the edge of Morrison's car park, Lonend, Paisley this lunchtime.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A male Blackbird was carrying food back to its young in Cardonald this evening. Yesterday a Song Thrush was doing the same in Rosshall. 

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Yet another leaf warbler calling today near the estate - they must be moving through the area.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Another Chiffchaff was squeaking loudly in the estate yesterday. I thought I heard one again today but it was a Goldfinch singing a squeaky little subsong I have not noticed before.

Monday, August 07, 2017

A singing and alarm-calling Wren was an unusual visitor to the garden first thing today.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

A walk over to Woodlands included a section along the Clyde near "Glasgow Harbour" where a Cormorant was fishing and 80 Starlings were "anting"on a grassy bank. The Starlings were concentrated in groups of around ten, presumably around the entrances to an underground nest. It was interesting to see the birds rubbing the ants on their bodies, particularly under their wings.  
Heading home, mid-afternoon, around 100 Starlings were murmurating over the dump at Shieldhall.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

A walk along the canal in Falkirk as far as the sea lock on the River Carron produced two Swallow families, four Common Sandpipers and a Small Copper butterfly.

Friday, August 04, 2017

An interesting natural connection today was an earthquake felt by one of the junior connectors at 3:45pm. The epicentre was in Moidart, around 150 miles away, but he clearly felt the house shake. The magnitude was 3.8, the largest in Scotland for 30 years.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Lots of moths flying about during my evening walk along the river. More under the street lights in the estate.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

After yesterday's Willow Warblers, today started with a Chiffchaff giving its "Squeaky toy" contact call. This evening, around 50 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were newly arrived on the Bonnyholm playing fields in south Cardonald. A white moth was quite happy to settle on my hand. 

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

A Swift screaming far above the town centre and a Raven calling as it flew over the university campus were the main highlights of a changeable day spent in Paisley. This evening, two Willow Warblers were calling, separately, around the estate.