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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, February 28, 2019

A busy working day with few natural connections. Birds around the university campus in Paisley were mostly of three families: gulls, pigeons and corvids.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
A brief walk along the river at dusk produced several singing Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrushes and Robins.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A single Chaffinch was singing in Quarrier's village this afternoon (with a cockerel crowing as well). Back home, two Collared Doves and a male bullfinch were the highlights on the bird feeders.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Another unseasonably mild day in Greenock today encouraged a single Chaffinch to start singing and a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly to bask on a tenement wall.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The usual walk along the river in South Cardonald produced an impressive 34 bird species today. Many were singing or engaging in other breeding behaviour. Perhaps most remarkable were two Song Thrushes which flew round in circles at break-neck speed, only a few cm apart. I have never seen this behaviour before. A Stock Dove was singing near its nest hole and two Mistle Thrushes feeding on a playing field just possibly might have had an early brood. Some slightly unusual species were Kingfisher, Greenfinch, Buzzard and Little Grebe.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

At least eight [presumed Palmate] Newts were showing well in the garden pond when I checked this evening.

Friday, February 22, 2019

A lunchtime walk around Christie Park in Alexandria produced a pair of Mistle Thrushes defending their territory against a pair of Magpies. What was presumably the male chased them off, then resumed sentry duty at the very top of a tall Douglas Fir. Lots of Blackthorn was in flower in the adjacent hospital grounds. Later, a Sparrowhawk disturbed the pigeons at Loch Lomond Galleries as it soared around the tower. Back home, the early flowering Plum tree is approaching it's best and a good-sized newt was in the garden pond. After several years without Frogs in the pond, I have opened up a bigger gap under the adjacent garden fence to see if it will entice them in. Lastly, a tiny moth was attracted to the porch light.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Four Redwings were in treetops in Saucelhill Park, Paisley this lunchtime, giving their chattering spring call. A pair of Mistle Thrushes were also there, with a male singing near the Hammils Bridge. Goldcrest was one of several other species heard singing and, at the other end of the passerine scale, two Ravens were over the town centre at both the start and the end of the day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

It was wet and blustery in Greenock Cemetery this lunchtime. Not surprisingly, few birds were either moving around or calling.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A brief stop at Murdieston Park at lunchtime produced three Rooks in the micro-rookery at the east end of the main dam and three Goldeneye (including a pristine adult male).

Monday, February 18, 2019

A miserable day with few opportunities for natural connections. However some of the local Magpies are nest-building and a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls are showing an interest inthe rooftops of the houses on Tweedsmuir Road.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

A Kingfisher was the highlight of a walk along the river. Also notable was a singing Greenfinch at the southeast corner of Rosshall Park.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

A Mistle Thrush and a Blackbird were singing outside the house at 6:30 this morning. A little later, at least eleven Collared Doves were either displaying or singing along a quarter of a mile stretch of road between Cardonald Place Farm and the top of Tweedsmir Road. Also notable was a Lesser Black-backed Gull, my first local bird of the year, and a cockerel crowing near Shiloh Hall (after I heard another at Cardonald Animal Rehoming Centre last week).
A walk around Linlithgow Loch and over Airngath Hill produced some interesting sightings. Most notable was a flock of at least one hundred mixed finches (Chaffinches, Bramblings, Goldfinches and at least one Greenfinch) feeding in a field of ripe sunflowers at Bonnytoun Farm. Nearby were a Pied Wagtail, a singing Skylark and at least two Tree Sparrows. A single bee (my first of the year) was visiting Crocuses in Bo'ness. Heading home, Kinneil Lagoon held large flocks of Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot and Dunlin, as well as four Scaup in the channel. Hogganfield Loch held 14 Whooper Swans.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Raven pair in the centre of Paisley were nest building late this afternoon. I'm not sure where this year's site will be. There are sticks (newly) protruding from the alcove which has been used in the prevous four years. However one bird tonight was carrying a large stick in the opposite direction.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Raven was again in the centre of Paisley this lunchtime, on this occasion flying west from the tower of Paisley Abbey. For a such a big bird they can be remarkably unobtrusive. This one slipped quietly overhead, completely unnoticed by the people waiting at the bus stops below.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the centre of Paisley this morning were my first of the spring. Other news is that the Ravens are back with two birds soaring and swooping exuberantly around last year's nesting site.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Quarrier's Village, Renfrewshire was reluctant to give up its birds when I arrived there this lunchtime. A strong wind and heavy rain meant only the local Jackdaws and House Sparrows were in evidence. However the weather had improved considerably by the time I was leaving, meaning that plenty of other birds such as Siskin and Collared Dove had been enticed out of cover.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The usual Eiders were bobbing gently on a surprisingly calm sea off Greenock Esplanade this lunchtime. Goldfinches were singing loudly all over the west end of the town.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Highlights of a walk around Balloch Castle grounds were a singing Song Thrush and two Mandarin drakes (the latter feeding in the usual spot near the public slipway).

Saturday, February 09, 2019

A Sparrowhawk powered across Paisley Road West at Ralston first thing. Later, a Magpie was building a nest at Moulin playing fields and a Grey Wagtail was slightly unusual near the Mosspark Station footbridge.

Friday, February 08, 2019

On an extremely windy day in Paisley, virtually every bird was staying well hidden. The only exceptions were a few Feral Pigeons (mostly being blown sideways) and four Jackdaws (actually coping quite well).

Thursday, February 07, 2019

The local House Sparrows seem to be proclaiming their territories from virtually every rooftop and Privet hedge.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019The small group

A small group of Rooks continue to eke out a living along Paisley road West, raiding rubbish bins and dodging the traffic. it will be interesting to see if they leave the area when the nesting season begins.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

All the usual species werre on show this lunchtime along the river. However a Chaffinch singing in Rosshall Park was my first of the year.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Three Mute Swans (an adult and two first winters) were looking incongruous on the sea just off Greenock Esplanade this lunchtime.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Today's walk along the river in Cardonald found thirty Redwings feeding in leaf litter and three Goosander near the Cardonald Place bridge. Most interesting sighting was of a possible bat sp which seemed to emerge (too quickly to be sure) from under the eaves of the house at dusk this evening.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Today's train journey to Dundee produced fourteen Roe Deer in one field outside Croy, a Buzzard at Larbet and two Sparrowhawks (one displaying) over Perth. The purpose of the trip was to look for Winter Aconite in flower at Balmerino Abbey. The ground under the Horse Chestnuts there was covered with the plants, the flowers pushing through the snow. I was surprised at just how small they are. Nearby, two Tree Sparrows were at Bottomcraig.

Friday, February 01, 2019

A pair of Teal flushed from the edge of the river at Forbes Place, Paisley this lunchtime was only my second record of the species for the area. The other sighting was of a pair under Anchor Bridge in April 2018. Other species around included Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail and Goosander. Notably, I had no sightings of Raven throughout the two days I spent working in Paisley this week.