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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, January 31, 2018

Wet, windy and wintry in Greenock this lunchtime. Consequently only seven species were seen along the usual walk: Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Jackdaw, Blue Tit, Blackbird, House Sparrow and Pied Wagtail.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A day off today was partly spent walking along the Brock Burn and Levern Water through Pollok. Lots of birds were about including a Moorhen, a pair of Goosanders, a singing Dipper and a Grey Wagtail. Also interesting was a single Redwing - they seem quite scarce hereabouts in mid-winter, but careful listening can often turn up one or two.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Two drake Goldeneye and a Shag were off Custom House Quay in sunshine this lunchtime. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

A very damp day in Glasgow today, but two pairs of Collared Doves were looking well settled in their south Cardonald stronghold. I am always amazed at how local these birds are. It is possible to predict almost exactly where they will be.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

A Greenfinch (extremely rare hereabouts) was singing outside the house first thing, for the second morning running. Later, a Bullfinch was calling AND singing its squeaky song at Lochar Park. Two Cormorants were on a log in Pollok Park with four Goosanders nearby.
In Maxwell Park seven Moorhens had flown up into tree branches to escape the attentions of a large dog.

Friday, January 26, 2018

A much better day today in Paisley prompted Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Starling and Robin to sing and Feral Pigeon and Woodpigeon to display.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Raven was perched on the dome of the John Neilson Institute for about 20 minutes today. Sightings of the species have been few and far between of late, leading me to believe that they may not be planning to nest locally this year.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A stormy day in Greenock meant few birds were about during a short lunchtime walk. However plenty of Herring Gulls were overhead, no doubt on the look out for storm-blown debris.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

At least 80 Canada Geese were on roadside fields as I drove down to Greenock this lunchtime. Flooded rivers held plenty of Mallards and Goldeneye.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Today's walk around Murdieston Park found some good numbers of birds including three Cormorants, five Moorhens, two Goosander, two Goldeneye and two Little Grebes.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

A bout of heavy snow in late morning turned south west Glasgow into a winter wonderland. Birds were hard to find during the worst of the weather but some notable sightings concerned a Moorhen, a Cormorant flying upstream and four gull species.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Today's walk from Port Glasgow to Woodhall produced some interesting sightings including: over 500 Dunlin roosting on a breakwater, two Black Guillemots moulting from winter into summer plumage, a Black-headed Gull with a well-developed hood and a flock of at least 73 Eider feeding co-operatively (possibly to avoid having their catches stolen by Herring Gulls).

Friday, January 19, 2018

Twelve Eider (eight males and four females) were in the harbour at the east end of Greenock esplanade this lunchtime. Some adult Herring Gulls still had some of last year's young begging from them. The Black-headed Gulls, meantime had begun to pair off and were giving a particular call that I associate with breeding activity. Lots of Starlings were singing and calling House Sparrows were also particularly numerous

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A fourth day of wintry conditions meant birds were few and far between in Paisley. However a Blue Tit and a Goldfinch were singing between the snow showers.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The House Sparrows at UWS Paisley campus were chirrupping to eachother as they sheltered from the snow in the privet and beech hedges.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A miserable day, weather-wise, with sleet, rain, hail and snow most of the day. Birds on the lunchtime walk were scarce, but Starlings began to sing every time the clouds parted.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Two Mute Swans at Forbes Place, Paisley today seemed to have paired up and the female was displaying what could possibly have been nest building behaviour.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A walk along the river this lunchtime produced a good range of species including Kingfisher, Stock Dove, Bullfinch, Redwing and Fieldfare. Most surprising were two Cormorants perched at water level immediately behind the house.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Spent three hours walking the banks of the Forth north of Stirling on what was a very murky afternoon. Highlights consisted of: a Raven near the Wallace Monument, a female Sparrowhawk carrying prey, 19 Oystercatchers feeding together on a grassy bank, lots of Goosanders plus a smattering of Goldeneye on the river and a Grey Seal seemingly impossibly far inland at Old Mills Farm. The full list for the day was: Mute Swan, unidentified goose, Teal, Mallard, Goldeneye, Goosander, Cormorant, Little Grebe, Sparrowhawk, Oystercatcher, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Raven, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Grey Wagtail, Goldfinch, Siskin, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting (38 species).

Friday, January 12, 2018

A late lunch break allowed a quick walk up to Castlehead where a Stock Dove was singing and Siskin, Redwing, Blackbird and Song Thrush were in the mature trees.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A quick walk around the Murdieston Dams this lunchtime produced a good total of over 400 individuals of 27 species, no doubt concentrated by the recent, wintry weather.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The icy weather has given way to a couple of slightly milder days. The build up of Black-headed Gulls in the centre of Paisley continues with at least 36 present today.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Working at the dining room table today. Two Bullfinches came into the garden for ten minutes and carefully stripped the buds from a little early-flowering plum tree. A lunchtime walk through the park found a Buzzard being mobbed by Carrion Crows and Magpies.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Today started with a temperature of -7 degrees. However the day which followed was clear and sunny. A lunchtime walk up Lyle Road produced only a few birds with a Blue Tit attempting to sing being the highlight.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

An afternoon walk around Strathclyde Country Park produced 1372 individuals of 24 species (more than half of those being Black-headed Gulls). Much of the loch was frozen, concentrating the birds into a few small area. A spectacular sunset finished the day off.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Spent the whole of the day in Falkirk, being outdoors virtually from dusk to dawn. Highlights of the day included eight Bullfinches feeding under Cherry trees at the top station, Kingfishers at one site each on the Union and Forth and Clyde Canals and Moorhens seemingly everywhere. The full list for the day was Mute Swan, Teal, Mallard, Goldeneye, Goosander, Grey Heron, Buzzard, Moorhen, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Starling, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Goldfinch and Siskin (32 species).

Friday, January 05, 2018

A Grey Wagtail was pecking around Canal Street Station at lunchtime today. Two Mistle Thrushes and three Redwings were on Saucel Hill. Six Siskins were unusual feeding along the water's edge at the Hammils. So too were four Moorhens, which seemed to consist of one pair chasing a second pair from their territory.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Birds driven into the relatively calm waters at Greenock Esplanade this lunchtime consisted of a Goldeneye, a Red-breasted Merganser and two Eider.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

A lunchtime walk in the rain still found Jackdaws poking around chimney pots and Blue Tits, Starlings and Robins practising their songs.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

A rainy walk along the river from Cardonald to Paisley produced some interesting sightings including a Rabbit in Rosshall Park (I rarely see them, although I know they are resident there), a Great Spotted Woodpecker over Crookston Road, a Raven over Bull Wood and a Sparrowhawk flushing the Jackdaws and Feral Pigeons over Forbes Place. The full list was: Mute Swan, Mallard, Goosander, Sparrowhawk, Moorhen, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Raven, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Goldfinch and Siskin (32 species).

Monday, January 01, 2018

A morning walk around my home 1km square produced a good range of species and plenty of early breeding activity including pair formation (PR), singing (S), courtship/display (CD) and nest building (NB): Mallard, Little Grebe (PR), Moorhen, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon (CD), Stock Dove (S), Woodpigeon (CD), Collared Dove (S), Kingfisher (PR), Magpie (NB), Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, Blue Tit (S), Great Tit (S), Coal Tit (S), Long-tailed Tit, Starling (S), Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Dunnock (S), House Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Bullfinch and Goldfinch (32 species).