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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, June 29, 2019

A brief stop at Haydon Bridge this morning produced a good range of common village birds including Mallard, Moorhen, Black-headed Gull, Oystercatcher, Buzzard, Swift, Grey Wagtail, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Blackbird, House Sparrow and Greenfinch. The Grey Wagtails, Mallards and Blackbirds all had dependent young. Monkey Flower was growing profusely on the old bridge. Later, a short walk along the merse at Gretna produced two Little Egrets, nine Common Sandpipers, four Dunlin, a Knot and a Ringed Plover.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Paid a visit to the Kittiwakes nesting on the Tyne Bridge first thing. They really are very impressive - not just in terms of the sight but also the sound and smell.  Few other birds were in the area (only Herring Gulls, Feral Pigeons and a few Cormorants). However the Riverside Park produced a good range of songbirds (including Garden Warbler) and plenty of Speckled Wood butterflies.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

An interesting event in a sunny Eyemouth today... Presumably most (if not all) of the local Swallows and House Martins were circling frantically over a tiny area of the village - the Swallows giving their "squeaky scissors" alarm call. Next thing a female Sparrowhawk rose from a small garden with prey in its talons. Once it had left the scene, all returned to normal. Down by the harbour, five Grey Seals were hauled out and bickering with eachother.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

A Raven was calling high over the garden this morning. The juvenile Great, Blue and Coal Tits continue to visit the feeders.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The plan for today was to visit some of the lochs in the north east of Glasgow. The weather turned out to be favourable and the result was a good list of (mostly common birds). Some of the highlights were at Frankfield Loch and included four Ringed Plovers and the long-staying Blue-winged Teal. The grassy area to the south of Frankfield Loch proved to be excellent for insects with a Common Green Lacewing the highlight. The most notable bird at Hogganfield Loch was a single Pink-footed Goose while the most notable insect was a Plume Moth.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Highlight of a very damp and thundery day was a female Mallard escorting an impressive eleven tiny ducklings (although Lesser Black-backed Gulls were circling ominously overhead). A Wild Strawberry plant had flowers and ripe fruit on the Moulin footbridge.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Today's walk along the river was later than usual, so not so many birds were about. However a Kingfisher speeding downstream and a Great Spotted Woodpecker calling in the woods were welcome records. Three Swifts and five House Martins were again feeding low over a stretch of the river - it has become a (rather worrying) feature of this summer. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Three Swallows were feeding low over the lawns of Glasgow Green during a short walk this lunchtime. Temperatures have remained lower than normal, no doubt causing aerial insects to be less active.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Warmer weather arrived in west central Scotland today, although there was still a cool westerly wind. Nevertheless the improved temperatures brought some interesting insects out during a walk in Loch Ard forest. These included a Golden-ringed Dragonfly, a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, a Red-necked Footman and some unusual flies and hoverflies.  Flowering plants included Ragged Robin and also notable was a Common Toad. Birds were mostly unspectacular but included a small number of Swifts (together with Swallows and both martins) and singing Greenfinch and Reed Bunting.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The persistent, cool weather brought two Swifts, four House Martins and four Sand Martins down to the river at Moulin playing fields where they were feeding frantically, presumably with nestlings to support.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Another blustery day was the backdrop to a walk along the Clyde from Rutherglen to the city centre. Most records were of common urban birds with Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Jackdaw, Magpie, Goldfinch House Sparrow and Starling particularly prominent. Some slightly less common species included Grey Heron, Sand Martin, Whitethroat and Swallow.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The national Painted Lady influx reached south west Glasgow today with a rather worn individual in Rosshall Park. Also there was a 7-Spot Ladybird. Newly-flowering plants included Giant Hogweed and Wild Mustard. New Mallard broods continue to appear with one tiny duckling seen. The woods are also full of young Blue Tits and Great Tits. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

High winds and rough water meant that few birds were on the Murdieston Dams this afternoon. Broods of Mallard, Coot and Mute Swan were present, but the only Tufted Ducks were four males, suggesting that the females may be on eggs.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Spent a blustery but mostly sunny afternoon in Muirshiel Country Park. None of my main target birds (Dipper, Spotted Flycatcher and Wheatear) were evident but I heard a possible Redstart and other interesting species included Raven, Kestrel and Lesser Redpoll.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

An afternoon walk around Mugdock Park found lots of singing Willow Warblers and Chaffinches plus a pair of Stock Doves fluttering around the quarry and a Buzzard being mobbed by two Carrion Crows

Friday, June 14, 2019

A busy day meant few natural connections. However the usual singers over the garden fence included Collared Dove, Greenfinch and Chiffchaff.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Two Swifts and eleven House Martins were in a feeding flock high over the house this afternoon. Two Greenfinches continue to sing nearby.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

A lunchtime drive to Largs via the South Inverclyde and North Ayrshire moors produced some interesting birds including singing Skylark and Reed Bunting, a Great Black-backed Gull feeding on a sheep carcass, six Swifts over a shelter belt and a male Whinchat alarm-calling from a telephone wire. Largs itself held two more Swifts plus a Pied Wagtail accompanied by two juveniles. Heading home, a dead Hedgehog was on the A737 east of Howwood.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The usual riverside walk today produced a leucistic female Mallard trying to protect two tiny young from an attack by a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a juvenile Moorhen on the pond. The Great Spotted Woodpecker nest at the corner of the park was all quiet, suggesting that the brood has fledged. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Walked to Paisley and back today. Lots of singing Blackbirds, Wrens and Chaffinches were heard. 

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Enjoyed a lovely walk down the Avon Gorge from Millheugh to Hamilton this lunchtime. Some of the birding highlights included widespread singing Chiffchaff, flyby Dipper and Goosander and a pair of Grey Wagtails feeding young. Some other highlights included a Ruby Tiger moth, and clumps of Perennial Sow-thistle and suspected Wolf's Milk Slime Mould (Lycogala epidendrum) [photos to follow].

Saturday, June 08, 2019

A walk down the Levern Water / Brock Burn from Barrhead Station to Rosshall Park produced the usual local species (Kingfisher, Dipper, Reed Bunting, Grey Wagtail and Stock Dove). However more notable were the very good numbers of singing warbler species including Chiffchaff (several giving the electrical interference metronome song), Willow Warbler, Blackcap and (particularly) Whitethroat.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Among the usual birds in and around the garden today, two Ravens were unusual. The first sign was a Carrion Crow calling angrily. A few seconds later, first one Raven and then a second passed overhead, cronking quietly. Later, in Darnley, it was the turn of two angry Common Gulls to alert me to the presence of a flyover Buzzard. In between, at least one Swift was screaming over Hyndland. 

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Walking in Falkirk today, it was really evident how the canal-side vegetation is supporting a large number and variety of birds. For instance, along just one short stretch were singing Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Greenfinch.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

One of the adult Ravens was closely supervising the two juveniles this lunchtime as they marauded around the centre of Paisley sliding down roof tiles and poking into refuse bags. It was great to see them still doing well and still in the natal area (I had assumed they had moved away). Heading home, four Swifts were screaming high above Oldhall. 

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Moorhen and Mallard had dependent young on the White Cart through Cardonald today. Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat were all singing along a 1km stretch through Pollok. Greenfinch was also singing and juveniles of both Pied and Grey Wagtail were seen.

Monday, June 03, 2019

In spite of the very wet weather today, a possible House Martin was over the old colony on Cardonald Gardens.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

A mixed day of sunshine and showers. A leucistic female Mallard was flying along the river today. Meanwhile, a Great Spotted Woodpecker was visiting a nest in a dead Birch tree in Rosshall Park.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

A much drier day today coaxed all the local insect feeders into the air with a Swallow over Hillington Industrial Estate, House Martins over Broad Loan, Renfrew, a Swift over the Cart at the end of Porterfield Road and four Sand Martins over the Clyde off Renfrew Golf Course.