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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.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

A morning walk around Hogganfield Loch turned up the Slavonian Grebe snacking on a frog. Also good was a single drake Shoveler.
This afternoon, a walk around RSPB Lochwinnoch and Castle Semple Loch failed to turn up the Smew but a drake Pochard was some consolation.

Friday, March 30, 2018

A morning walk around south Cardonald produced some minor highlights including a Kingfisher speeding along, a Stock Dove singing and a Brown Rat showing well in the Pulhamite garden. This afternoon, a visit to Mugdock Park found frogspawn in the pond behind the castle.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Managed to escape work briefly for a late lunch and a walk into Paisley. A Grey Wagtail and a Moorhen were on the river. Later, after being absent all day, a Raven flew up to alight on Orr Square Church tower.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A day of sunshine and showers in Greenock. Goldfinch continues to be one of the most obvious birds with its tinkling song and calls heard virtually everywhere around the town.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

An evening walk along the river produced more Stock Doves and the usual pair of Goosanders (maybe planning to nest locally).

Monday, March 26, 2018

A Greenfinch was singing again in the car park of the UWS Paisley campus this morning. A brief, late lunchtime walk in Greenock found many Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls re-occupying their nesting ledges on the tenement roofs. A pair of the latter on a flat roof were engaged in an elaborate "slow goose-stepping" display for a spell in the afternoon.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A walk around my home 1km square in south Cardonald this lunchtime produced a good total of 32 species, the highlights of which were: four Moorhens (including a pair at one and singles at two other sites), a singing Collared Dove (very scarce hereabouts), a Sparrowhawk having a swoop at a passing flock of Goldfinches, singing Chaffinches at three sites, Greenfinches at two and Siskin at one.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

At least one Red-throated Diver and two Slavonian Grebes (with 15 Great-crested Grebes) were off the west side of Ardmore Point around 12 noon today. Two Jays were showing well from the perimeter path near the trig point. No sign of any newly-arrived Wheatears.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Two Greenfinches were singing in the centre of Paisley first thing. Mid morning, two Mallards were an unusual sight as they hurtled through the university campus around 3rd floor height. One of the local Ravens was circling with a stick in its beak and alighted briefly on the edge of the nest. A short walk at lunchtime found Coltsfoot flowering along the cycle path.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

At least two Bullfinches continue to gorge themselves on the sunflower hearts in the back garden. Nearby, a single Chaffinch and at least eight Goldfinches were singing. Goldcrests are also singing well. Meanwhile, two Redwings were still in the treetops down by the river.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

A walk around Murdieston Dams first thing found the Mute Swan pair nest building in a different spot, last week's two Goldeneye now gone, and a Little Grebe frequenting the same spot as before (possibly establishing a territory). At lunchtime, a walk around Greenock Cemetery produced singing Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Goldcrest, still good numbers of Blackbirds and a Great Spotted Woodpecker quietly inspecting some holes in an old tree.

Monday, March 19, 2018

A return walk to Pollok Roundabout in some welcome sunshine produced quite a good range of riparian species including Cormorant, Goosander, Mallard, Moorhen, Little Grebe and Kingfisher. A Treecreeper was showing well and six Redwings were a nice surprise after having been hard to find recently.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Pied Wagtail was flitting about a chilly Tesco car park in Milngavie this afternoon. As the day progressed, around 200 Pink-footed Geese straggled east along the northern edge of the Campsie Hills. Later, two Oystercatchers were feeding on the lawn of Glengoyne Distillery.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

A snowy walk on Arthur Seat produced singing Greenfinch and Linnets plus a soaring Raven. Twenty crows had spotted something in the gorse (possibly a Fox) and were scolding it loudly. A Lesser Black-backed Gull on St Margaret's Loch had three red rings on its left leg.

Friday, March 16, 2018

A day off was unfortunately mostly spent at the marking table with only the garden birds for distraction. Among these were three Dunnock (chasing and wing-flicking), four Bullfinch and a Long-tailed  Tit.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A walk around Murdieston Dams at 7am produced two Goldeneye still on Town Dam and a vocal Little Grebe on the main reservoir. A pair of Mute Swans have settled to nest on Town Dam but the main reservoir is only occupied by two juveniles. A Chaffinch was singing in the direction of the cemetery.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Nice to be back in my familiar surroundings. The usual walk along the river produced two pairs of Stock Doves plus good numbers of Chaffinches (including one singing bird). Back home, two Bullfinches were taking sunflower hearts from the bird feeder. News from the web is of an Osprey back in moray and both Sand Martin and Wheatear reaching the north of England.

Monday, March 12, 2018



Saturday, March 10, 2018

The raucous calls of two Ring-necked Parakeets shattered the tranquillity of the courtyard at Bezmialem Vakif University Hospital today. Earlier, two Chiffchaff were singing from the trees. In the evening, a walk around the Topkapi Palace grounds produced parakeets and Grey Herons nesting in the many tall Plane trees and a squad of Hooded Crows picking up scraps where the ground was disturbed for Tulips being planted out.

Friday, March 09, 2018

The only natural connections of a long working day consisted of around 50+ Feral pigeons feeding on grass near the main bosphorus road bridge, two House Sparrows in Sisli and four Shearwater sp offshore from the Istanbul University waterfront site at Sanyer.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

The only natural connection of a long traveling day concerned large numbers of Coots and Tufted Duck on the channel round the perimeter of Schippol Airport.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Spent part of my day trundling around Silverburn Shopping Centre getting organised for tomorrow.  Plenty of gulls around plus a single Redwing and Pied Wagtail. Locally, the snow has mostly melted away, except where it was piled particularly high.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

A rainy walk through the centre of Paisley this lunchtime turned up all the common water birds including two Mute Swans pottering about on the island, a pair of Goosander, a noisy Moorhen and two Grey Wagtails. Thought I heard a Raven over in the direction of the abbey but couldn't pinpoint it. No sign of any birds around the nesting ledge all day.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Damp and cold today, but a puffed up Pied Wagtail which parachuted down from the roof of a tenement in Greenock this lunchtime injected a bit of much-needed cheer.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

The recent snow turned to sleet today. A flock of 50 Starlings in trees at the other end of Moulin playing fields also contained about 10 Redwings. The flock were chattering noisily as they often do at this time of year. I wonder if these are eastern European birds getting ready to head back for the breeding season. 

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Two Greenfinches were singing in Barshaw Park, Paisley this afternoon. Fifty Jackdaws were wheeling over the area prior to going to roost, although plenty of pairs were also around the tenement chimney pots.

Friday, March 02, 2018

For the third day running, Cardonald is nestling under a thick blanket of snow. Not surprisingly, the weather has brought to a halt most of the breeding activity that had been evident last week. The Jackdaws and Magpies have flocked up again and there is very little birdsong (although the Blue Tits continue to sing out of what seems like sheer defiance). 
A walk along the river at the end of the day found the usual Moorhen (they are a daily occurrence these days) plus the briefest snatch of what sounded like a Dipper call. It was too near dusk for yesterday's Stock Doves but two Blackbirds, two Mistle Thrushes, four Redwings and a Wren feeding at the base of an old Willow made for a nice record. Some interesting weather-related bird stories on twitter today include a Redshank picked up and rehabilitated by an Anglian Water van in Essex, a Snipe resting on the pavement of Edinburgh's High Street (and a Crab nearby), a Robin roosting under a heat lamp in a lambing shed in the English Midlands and Bramblings, Fieldfares, Woodcock and even Lapwings appearing in gardens.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Around 50 Jackdaws were wheeling around noisily at dusk, possibly trying to find a roosting site. The local Magpies did not seem too keen to allow them to settle in their wood.