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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, October 31, 2019

A few more Redwings were about first thing, with a few Starlings in tow. However numbers seem to be down on previous years.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

An early morning walk along the river produced some interesting sightings including a single Fieldfare on a TV aerial, 16 Mallards on the park pond and two Little Grebes feeding near the Cardonald Place Farm footbridge.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

With the garden feeders unfilled, the only wildlife consisted of two Magpies and a Grey Squirrel.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Highlights of a circular walk between Kirkcaldy and Kinghorn, Fife today were a Kestrel, pole-hopping as we walked along the road behind him, numerous flies on isolated patches of flowering Ivy and some Common Rock-rose in flower on a south-facing grassy slope.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Two Grey Herons were the only notable sightings during a walk in Victoria Park this morning.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

A Grey Wagtail was hunting around the edge of the boating pond in Queen's Park, Glasgow this evening.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Two Dippers and a Grey Wagtail were the best sightings during today's walk along the White Cart from Clarkston to Cathcart.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Today's walk from Cardonald to Shawlands failed to throw up anything of great interest, but a Goosander on the river in front of Pollok House was nice to see.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Today was a day for keeping the "eyes to the skies". While waiting for the bus to Greenock on Renfrew Road, Paisley at 08:00, I looked up to count a flock of Long-tailed Tits moving between two trees and caught sight of a distant Sparrowhawk being mobbed by a corvid.  Then in the late afternoon, while waiting to cross Paisley Road West in Cardonald, I looked up to see a Cormorant heading south west (presumably towards the river) high overhead.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Visitors to the garden today included six Goldfinches, a pair of Bullfinches, three Dunnock and a Chaffinch.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Some of the highlights of a walk around the northern outskirts of Dunfermline included 15 Tree Sparrows in a hedgerow at Townhill, a covey of eight Grey Partridges at The Lead and several Yellowhammers (and a dead Weasel, below) at the Baldridge Burn. 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A beautiful sunny day was followed by a gorgeous orange sunset. Little was happening on the birding front. I suspect the main vanguard of winter thrushes is yet to arrive hereabouts. 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Plenty of local birds were active in the sunny weather today. Two Goosanders were fishing on the river and two flocks of Long-tailed Tits passed by.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Today's walk covered the River Avon from Linithgow Bridge to Kinneil Bridge as well as the farmland north of there, the edge of Kinneil Wood and some of the grassland at Kinneil nature reserve. Some of the bird highlights were 200 overflying Greylag Geese, some small groups of Redwings, a single Jay, two interacting Dippers and occasional records of some local species including Redpoll, Skylark and Grey Wagtail. Also notable were plenty of leftover flowers along the field edges and hedgerows, bright orange Sae Buckthorn berries and a single (unidentified) butterfly.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Today's flying visit to Strathspey began with a walk down to the river. Only two Mallards were present, but a small skein of nine Greylag Geese flew over and Siskins, Goldfinches and Chaffinches were in the riverside trees.
Walking down through Kincraig, a few Rooks were in a sheep field and the most obvious birds in the village were Chaffinches and Robins (some of the latter in song). Birch leaves were raining down onto the road, even with no wind. Siskins were present again and the loch held two Mute Swans and two Teal. Two Rabbits were beside the path.
The riverside walk north was notable for the Aspen trees, the leaves of which were either yellow or (mostly) already fallen. The Bracken was orangey-brown. Jackdaws were often overhead and Siskins and Chaffinches were again ubiquitous. A big patch of Orange Peel fungus was on the edge of the path near Speybank. (It was one of very many species seen along the walk).
Dalraddy Moor was quiet, but some Jackdaws and Rooks were feeding near the sheep were grazing. Birch leaves were yellow or pale orange but the main colour in the landscape was provided by the red stems and withered leaves of Rosebay Willow-herb. Occasional flowers were encountered all the way along the path and included Red Campion, White Capion, a Ragwort species, Devil's-bit Scabious, Bell Heather, Ling Heather, Foxglove, probable Burnet Saxifrage, Cowberry (with many plants fruiting), Harebell and Catsear.
Kinrara had a calling Great Spotted Woodpecker, Siskins, Chaffinches and various tit species, a small flock of Redwings in the treetops, five cock Pheasants exploded out of the undergrowth, a mature Puffball at the side of the path and a large black beetle lumbering across the path. The Bogach had another Great Spotted Woodpecker, two Redpoll and one Siskin. The marsh itself (more of a loch, today) held a boisterous group of 15 Goldeneye (socialising and diving together) and one Mallard.
The Lynwilg end of the path had three Buzzards interacting overhead, a solitary Goldeneye on a quiet bend in the Spey disturbed by standing canoists, Goldfinches on wires, Chaffinches on the path, two Redwingsoverhead and 18 Jackdaws going to roost.
Finally, the south end of Aviemore had two Rabbits grazing on the verge at The Range, a Grey Heron over the Youth Hostel and both Siskins and Chaffinches again.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Another day, more Redwings - this time a flock of 30 in Rosshall Park. Also there were 20 to 30 Siskins in a flock.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The "See-eep"ing sound of Redwings moving overhead is currently ever-present in south Cardonald. Finches around the garden today included Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch and Siskin.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Five Goosanders on Cowdenknowes Reservoir and another on Town Dam (both Greenock) were surprising finds this lunchtime. Less surprising were the eight Whooper Swans with Pink-footed Geese beside the M8 (other local birds were reported to have arrived over the past few days). Over 70 Redwings and a handful of Mistle Thrushes were in Greenock Cemetery where there were at least 22 rosettes of Rustyback Fern along a short stretch of wall. Down at the coast, a Cormorant caught and swallowed a fish, a Rock Pipit pottered quietly on the shingle and a Razorbill was just off the Cove Road.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

A pleasant walk through parts of Hamilton this lunchtime produced only very typical town-dwelling birds. However it was heartening to see the number of birds present overall, with what appeared to be good number of Starlings, Jackdaws and the ubiquitous Feral Pigeons.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

A walk through to Crookston this morning found plenty of birds singing in the autumn sunshine including Collared Dove and Coal Tit. Other hightlights were two groups of Redwings (25 and 2) overhead and two Mistle Thrushes being flushed from a Rowan Tree by a Magpie.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Another day of heavy rain, with the local rivers severely swollen.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Canal walk between Dalmuir and Old Kilpatrick this lunchtime, as usual produced plenty of Moorhens, both adults and immatures. The most notable sighting was of a Buzzard circling low over Old Kilpatrick and being mobbed by a single Carrion Crow while two more called loudly from the trees below.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Another day, another Redwing flock in south Cardonald,  although this time a larger number (about 25). Also notable was a mini influx of Starlings to the area. Two Kingfishers were seen - one on the river and one on the pond.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

The windy weather of late has brought down even more Beech mast to add to the large amounts already on the paths in and around Rosshall Park. This appears to have been an exceptional year with the mast piling up several centimetres deep in places.

Monday, October 07, 2019

At least 19 Little Grebes were on Linlithgow Loch but other birds were in fairly short supply.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

The water level in the White Cart was the highest I've seen it this year (no doubt due to exceptionally heavy rain over the past 24 hours). Pick of the birds on today's walk were five Redwings over the railway - my first of the autumn.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

It was cold and windy up on Salisbury Crags in Edinburgh this morning. Some of the bird species present included Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Kestrel and Raven. A tiny yellow fungus growing among the rough grass appeared to be Golden Spindles (Clavulinopsis fusiformis).

Friday, October 04, 2019

A walk along the Forth north of Stirling produced all the "usuals" including Mallard, Teal, Goosander, Mute Swan, Grey Wagtail and Cormorant (the latter catching and swallowing a fish). Elsewhere,  two Jays showed well in the woods around the Wallace Monument and another tenement guttering-frequenting Grey Wagtail was in the centre of Stirling.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

A female Mandarin was on the White Cart at Battlefield this morning. Apparently this is a returning individual seen in several previous winters.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Today was a Grey Wagtail day with one in Cardonald first thing, a second in Langside mid-morning, a third in Mosspark at lunchtime and a fourth on the steps of the National Gallery in Edinburgh in the evening. Presumably such a good showing is the result of post-breeding dispersal. What was notable was that two of the birds were exploring tenement guttering (presumably looking for food items). This is behaviour I have observed many times before, although I don't recall seeing it mentioned in the literature.In between, the sunny weather in Cardonald tempted a few birds to sing including three Great Tits and a Greenfinch.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Today's walk from Cardonald to Langside produced little of note except a Grey Heron on the weir at Shawbridge and 100 Jackdaws in a flock over Pollok Park cricket pitch.