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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.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A later walk this evening produced fewer birds but Kingfishers were present at two sites.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

An evening walk alomg the river produced a number of interesting sightings including a single Sand Martin (less than annual here) feeding over the Rosshall Bridge, at least four separate Grey Herons (including one stalking a new brood of Mallard ducklings on Rosshall Park Pond, yesterday's Moorhen nest now empty, a presumed family party of eight Collared Doves and a large tit flock of 40+ birds including up to ten Chiffchaffs.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

A walk along the canals in Falkirk this morning found quite a few tiny Common Toads taking advantage of the damp weather to move location. Unfortunately, several Magpies and Carrion Crows had gathered, presumably to devour the toadlets as they hopped across the tow-path. Later, Victoria Park, Glasgow held plenty of first summer Black-headed Gulls, an occupied Little Grebe's nest and a Ring-necked Parakeet. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Even more first summer  Black-headed Gulls were in Paisley, making up about a third of the 50 or so birds present. Rooks also had juveniles in tow and two Grey Wagtails were in the area. Later, a Raven was calling as it flew over the west end.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A few Eiders were present off Custom House Quay in glorious weather this lunchtime. Two Swallows were around the Beacon Arts Centre and a Pied Wagtail was at the police HQ.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A Raven was calling over the west end of Paisley mid-morning. At home time, a Chiffchaff was calling from the UWS car park. In between, the Black-headed Gull flock on the River Cart was holding a high percentage of first summer birds. At home in south Cardonald, a Blackcap was singing and both Chiffchaff and Bullfinch were calling unseen. Two Kingfishers were along the river (one showing well as it sped off upstream) and two Moorhens were tending a nest with newly-hatched young. The nest, near Bonnyholm Bridge, must have been at water level at some time but is now on a tree branch a metre above the river. Back home, two Swifts performed a low flypast at 9:30pm and a little later, a possible Tawny Owl called three times from the woods.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A short walk down to the esplanade this lunchtime produced two Swifts and possibly three House Martins over the west end of Greenock.  Black Guillemots were still visiting nest holes, this time in both the west AND north-facing walls.

Monday, July 23, 2018

A lunchtime walk into Paisley revealed evidence of a sizeable influx of Black-headed Gulls (around 60 in total) with about 10-20% being first summer birds.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A quick look around Baron's Haugh this afternoon produced a good selection of waders including Curlew (1), Lapwing, Redshank (1), Snipe (3), Green Sandpiper (4) and Common Sandpiper (2) (but no sign of the juvenile Little Ringed Plovers reported later). Also good were Nuthatch, Shoveler and Water Rail.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

A walk along the Tweed west of Peebles this afternoon produced four Swifts (over the town), a creche of 21 Goosander juveniles, Sand Martins nesting in a sandy bank (with some juveniles on the wing) up to five pairs of Grey Wagtails (including one pair feeding young), an immature Grey Heron perched high in a tree and a single Dipper.

Friday, July 20, 2018

After three days of single Chiffchaffs calling in south Cardonald, this evening there were singles at three differnt places. A Greenfinch was in full song and two Kingfishers were along the river.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Herring Gulls had well-grown (and mobile) chicks on the rooftops in the west end of Greenock this lunchtime. This evening, a Chiffchaff called from the woodland edge beside the house for the third day this week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Sparrowhawk was yickering from the birch woods next to the house while a Chiffchaff called and three House Martins (incredibly rare this year) fed overhead. An evening walk along the river produced all the usual suspects plus a toadlet crossing the path and a Large Yellow-underwing in a privet hedge. Arriving back at the house at 21:45, ten Swifts screamed high overhead.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Today's walk along the Cart in south Cardonald produced a good total of 26 species including Kingfisher, Grey Heron (two instead of the usual one), Stock Dove, singing Greenfinch (unusual here), two calling Chiffchaffs and at least 14 Goldfinches (suggesting a good breeding season). Several patches of Mock Orange (Philadelphus coronarius) were in full flower as they scrambled over the riverside trees.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Biggest surprise of a lunchtime walk around Murdieston Park, Greenock today was a Sedge Warbler singing from the tiny patch of reeds beside the island in Town Dam. Presumably just a passing bird trying out its luck, but a nice record all the same (and my first for the site). Also notable was a small blue damselfly. Back home, a Moorhen was the only notable sighting of an evening walk along the river through south Cardonald.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

One of very few rainy day for over a month (and the need to catch up on work) meant natural connections were severely curtailed today.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

A female Sparrowhawk erupted from a garden in Oldhall first thing, while a House Martin was over the houses there. Continuing the House Martin theme, up to six nests were being attended on the north wall of the Erskine Hotel and a single nest was being visited in the Napier Estate, Govan. Two more nests at the latter site appeared to have fallen down, perhaps due to the very dry weather or the attentions of the many large gulls in the area. The other birding highlight of the day concerned at least ten Common Terns feeding at the outfall opposite Newshot Island. Non birding highlights consisted of Red Soldier Beetles and Cinnabar Moth caterpillars on ragwort at the north end of the Erskine Bridge.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The highlight of this evening's walk was a pair of Stock Doves flying up from the riverside path.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The usual walk along the river this evening produced some unusual sightings including a single Grey Wagtail on the river, a Treecreeper near the cookery school and a mixed flock of 10 Black-headed Gulls, 30 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and three Swifts hawking insects high above Moulin.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Yesterday's Blackcap was singing again first thing this morning. The west end of Greenock held just the usual birds with many of the larger gulls now having squealing young out on the rooftops.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A singing Blackcap was the only surprising record from a walk along the river in south Cardonald this evening.

Monday, July 09, 2018

For the second evening running, Swifts (two on this occasion) were screaming quietly over south Cardonald. Earlier, a single House Martin was blowing raspberries over the centre of Paisley.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Six Swifts were over Dundee Drive at 9:30pm tonight. A well-grown Mallard duckling down on the river has a distinctive white collar. 13 Long-tailed Tits flew across the road.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

An early morning walk produced Ringed Plovers on the beach, Cormorants and Sandwich Terns fishing a flat-calm sea, and the coastal path studded with reds, yellows, blues and purples of the wildflowers. Reds included Wild Rose and Red Campion, yellows included Sow Thistle, Ragwort, Catsear and Silverweed, the only blue came from Harebell and purples were Thistle and Burdock. Some Red Soldier Beetles were on the Ragwort inflorescences and moths included Chimney Sweep. In the afternoon, a walk out from Stranraer produced no Scarlet Pimpernel that I could find but two Swifts were over the town around 5pm.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Today was mostly spent in and around Seamill in north Ayrshire. Among the birds in the vicinity of the hotel, a pair of Pied Wagtails were bringing food back to a nest hidden against a wall inside a privet hedge. A glorious evening produced a fairly muted sunset, but there was still light in the sky well after midnight.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Two Ravens flew around the abbey and the town hall at the end of the UWS graduation in Paisley this morning. Later, up to three were around the nesting tower.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

A walk through Bankside this evening produced a Ring-necked Parakeet calling from trees behind the gallery and lots of Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls over the river.