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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, August 31, 2018

A walk through a sunny Paisley found a Raven on the tower of the abbey and a Grey Heron fishing at the mouth of the Espedair Burn.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

A Raven was calling over the west end of Paisley this afternoon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

More evidence that Starlings have returned to the Nelson Street area of Greenock with 19 on a chimney near the court (after one yesterday).

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The birding doldrums continue in Greenock and south Cardonald with very few birds encountered in the course of today's two walks. Nevertheless at least one Chiffchaff continues to squeak along the river and the local Woodpigeons are singing again.

Monday, August 27, 2018


Sunday, August 26, 2018

A very wet and blustery Ardmore Point this lunchtime produced at least 300 House Martins low over the sea in the North Bay. Other birds include a winter-plumaged Black Guillemot and two rafts of Red-breasted Mergansers.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

A walk around the west end of Greenock this afternoon ...
A walk around the home square produced very few species, although some time in the garden added Chiffchaff and Collared Dove.

Friday, August 24, 2018

The usual walk along the river produced the usual Grey Heron fishing at the weir. Mallards were more in evidence (perhaps because today's walk was earlier in the afternoon than most have been recently, and therefore before the birds would normally have gone to roost).

Thursday, August 23, 2018

A busy day ended with a jog up to a meeting in Gartnavel Hospital. As elsewhere, only larger birds (Magpie, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon) were evident with the only evidence of smaller birds being some squeaks and ticks emanating from dense cover.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A walk down to the esplanade this lunchtime found lots of people enjoying some milder weather but few birds on show. Even the locally-nesting Black Guillemots failed to appear. As usual, Herring Gulls were the most common gull along the front with Lesser-Black-backs the most common in the streets beind.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Bonnyholm Hooded x Carrion Crow hybrid has moulted into a beautiful and eye-catching individual: Link

Monday, August 20, 2018


Sunday, August 19, 2018

A single House Martin was over the houses north of Crookston Castle this morning. The water level in the river has risen after recent rain so the Mallards and other water birds were nowhere to be seen. The publishers of the New Naturalists have released the cover art for the next book in the series: "The Burren".


Saturday, August 18, 2018

A walk up to Binnie Craig near Uphall in West Lothian today found Swallows and House Martins moving constantly past the summit. Thirty of the latter were feeding in the lea of a shelter belt to the east. A flock of birds following a plough on the outskirts of Uphall held several hundred mixed gulls (Black-headed, Common, Herring and Lesser Black-backed), smaller numbers of corvids (Rooks and Jackdaws) and at least two Buzzards.

Friday, August 17, 2018

A damp and busy day meant few natural connections. Only a few corvids and gulls were on the playing fields at Moulin. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

More rain in south Cardonald today. Birds were notably scarce on a walk along the river. The Giant Hogweed and Policeman's Helmet are starting to look the worse for wear. The first frost will finish them off.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Sunshine and showers in west central Scotland today. Most birds were staying under cover with only the ubiquitous corvids, gulls and pigeons abroad in south Cardonald this evening.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Three House Martins were feeding around the treetops and over the river in a damp and humid Paisley town centre today.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Several large juvenile Herring Gulls were squealing for their parents from the rooftops around Nelson Street, Greenock this afternoon. A Grey Wagtail was at Cowdenknowes Dam where Coot, Tufted Duck and Mallard numbers are starting to peak. Three Coot pairs still had dependent young including one pair with one tiny chick. A Swallow was over the bend in Baker Street.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Very rainy today. marking commitments meant a walk along the river was the only opportunity for natural connections available. Most birds were keeping out of the rain but a smart-looking Hooded Crow x Carrion Crow hybrid was at Bonnyholm Bridge and a probable Woodpigeon (I hope it wasn't one of the Stock Doves) had been the victim of a Sparrowhawk attack, its feathers strewn across the path in Rosshall Park.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Today's walk along the river in south Cardonald found Mallard numbers up to 22, plenty of juvenile tits and the usual mix of Rooks, Jackdaws and Black-headed Gulls on Moulin playing fields. Some species have started to sing again (presumably juvenile males having a try-out) including Willow Warbler and Stock Dove, but many others (notably Blackbird, Song Thrush, House Sparrow and Robin) are still keeping a very low profile.The other main natural connection of today was with a tick which must have attached itself to my leg during yesterday's Rothiemurchus trip. It was quickly extracted with a pair of eyebrow tweezers.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Spent a very wet day in Rothiemurchus. In spite of the rain, some good natural connections were had including two Spotted Flycatchers and a Crested Tit in a roving tit flock, 25 Mistle Thrushes feeding on cropped turf, a Dipper at the Old Bridge Hotel, lots of chocolate-coloured Scotch Argus butterflies, a couple of damselflies, one dragonfly, a Common Frog and an Osprey circling over the fish farm.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

A quick lunchtime walk around the west end of Greenock found a juvenile Pied Wagtail feeding on flies around the bowling green.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

All the usual birds were along the river in Paisley, with two Mute Swans near Anchor Mill. A single Raven was calling over the west end. This evening, the regular Chiffchaff was still calling opposite the house.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Two Ravens (possibly an adult and a juvenile) spent a lot of the day around the nesting tower in Paisley. A Chiffchaff called from the shrubbery around the UWS car park.

Monday, August 06, 2018

A Chiffchaff was calling from the woods outside the house at 9:30pm.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

More Rooks continue to gather on Moulin Playing Fields (after being absent for most of the summer). A Moorhen was alarm-caaling at a juvenile Grey Heron which had encroached on its territory.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

This morning's walk along the river produced another huge tit flock plus at least two calling Chiffchaffs and a Common Buzzard over.

Friday, August 03, 2018

A single House Martin was again feeding over central Paisley this lunchtime and a Large Yellow-underwing was in the office (to add to last night's White Plume at home). This evening, a Chiffchaff was calling quietly outside the front door. 

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Three Rooks were new on Moulin playing fields tonight.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Today's lunchtime walk through the centre of Paisley was notable for an influx of Starlings to the area plus a single House Martin "Phhrrrtttt"ing over the river.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A lunchtime walk in a blustery Greenock today produced lots of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and House Sparrows but not much else. The day had started with a Grey Wagtail gingerly checking the windowsill of my office for food.