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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.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Maidens, first thing, held 13 Brent Geese near the Caravan Park and thirty Greenfinches in the dunes. Stevenston Point had a good selection of waders consisting of Oystercatcher, Redshank, Knot, Turnstone, Dunlin and Purple Sandpiper.

Monday, December 30, 2019

A probable Wood Mouse running across a grassy verge in Glasgow town centre at 06:45 was the first natural connection of the day. Later, walked along the coast from Grangemouth to Bo'ness and then over the hill to Linlithgow Bridge. Highlights were a pair of Dippers (including a singing male) in Grangemouth and a Greenshank in the creek at Kinneil.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Highlight of a lunchime walk around Mugdock Park was a flock of around 25 Redpolls which showed well near Craigton Castle. Goosanders and Cormorants gave food views as they fished on Mugdock Loch.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

A quick run around some sites in Dumfries and Galloway produced some good sightings including a vole across the road south of Dalmellington, lots of Red Kites over Loch Ken, at least three Willow Tits at the Ken-Dee marshes, a Raven displaying over Auchenlosh Hill, two Little Egrets flying together over the Southwick Water and summer-plumaged Pintails at Mersehead.

Friday, December 27, 2019

A very wet day meant that natural connections were virtually impossible. However a walk in the rain along the Brock Burn produced a few good birds including five Bullfinches feeding together on weed seed heads and a single Greenfinch.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

As the mild weather has persisted locally, so too has the premature singing of several species including Blue Tit, Great Tit, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Wren, Song Thrush and (more predictably) Robin. There appears to have been a mini-influx of Siskins into the locality with small groups heard passing overhead at five different sites.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

An unusual Mallard has joined the colony on the river at Cardonald Place. It is all dark brown except for a white chest, and appears to be paired to a normal-looking drake so is presumably a female.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Greenfinches continue to put on a good showing in south Cardonald with three on the garden feeders and five flying overhead. A singing Song Thrush was my first of the season after a singing Mistle Thrush a few days ago.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Baron's Haugh was wet and windy this afternoon. A Kestrel, a Buzzard and a possible Peregrine were hunting over the hill. A flock of Teal were calling and displaying on the haugh.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The improved weather tempted several bird species into song this morning including Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Wren, Starling, Collared Dove and Woodpigeon. Unusual for the garden were six House Sparrows with two Greenfinches (House Sparrows are common a few streets away but hardly ever stray into my estate). The Chaffinches and Greenfinches are suddenly much more colourful as they have acquired their breeding colours. Mallards (a very good 34 in total) were congregating on the river at the bottom of the garden with a fair amount of display taking place. A single Kingfisher was also present.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

This morning's walk around my 1km square (including my garden) yielded a very good total of 32 species. Highlights included a singing(!) Mistle Thrush, nine Bullfinches (including seven in the garden), two Kingfishers, seven Siskins overhead, eight Stock Doves feeding together on the path and a local influx of Starlings (plus an exceptional eleven Squirrels).

Friday, December 20, 2019

Today's walk along the elevated cycle path through Scotstoun and Yoker produced nothing out of the ordinary. A switch over to the canal at least introduced some waterbirds including four Goosander, nine Tufted Duck and eleven Moorhen.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Walking to the bus stop this morning, twelve Starling-sized birds in the tops of trees on Cardonald Place Road proved to be Waxwings (my first local birds since 2013). The birds were catching flies and eating berries. Later in the morning and over at Victoria Park, some winter sunshine led a number of species to indulge in early breeding behaviour including Blue Tit (singing and visiting a nest box), Coal Tit (singing), Long-tailed Tit (two birds grappling in the air and falling to the ground) and Coot (a pair mating on a nesting platform).

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Some business in Blantyre required a wet and windy lunchtime walk from the town to the Business Park on the other side of the expressway. Only the typical urban birds were encountered.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Took the opportunity to pop into RSPB Lochwinnoch on the way back from Greenock. The female Smew failed to show on Aird Meadow but the low winter light produced fantastic views of Goldeneye and Goosander against a stunning bakdrop. After a while two Roe Deer came to feed at the water's edge and an Otter climbed out onto a raft to eat a fish. As I was driving away from the reserve, a female Sparrowhawk swept low over the road.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Beecraigs Country Park was wet and windy this morning but some interesting sightings included summer plumaged Little Grebe (and Mallard) on Beecraigs Loch, Fieldfares on stubble, Yellowhammers in the hedges and eight Stock Doves 'exploding' from a tree near Parkley Farm.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

A walk up to Crookston castle in the arin produced a mixed flock of about 30 Redpolls and Siskins. Later, a look around the St Rollx site on Springburn Road failed to turn up any Waxwings, although it was good to see two Pied Wagtails hanging around the front door of Lidls.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Took a walk along the Clyde at Govan this afternoon. Twenty-five Goldeneye were out in the middle of the river in front of the transport museum. Among them was a female Long-tailed Duck (link to photo by Southside Birder here). She seemed quite at home with the other birds but lunged aggressively at any that came too close. Also in the area were a Cormorant and a couple of Pied Wagtails.

Friday, December 13, 2019

A brighter day today after three days of heavy rain. The river level had dropped considerably and several species were singing including Robin, Wren, Woospigeon, Collared Dove, Coal Tit and Blue Tit.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Yesterday's Greenfinch was back in the garden today, along with two Collared Doves. Another of the latter was singing not far away.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

A Greenfinch was among four finch species visiting the garden feeders (with another species, a Siskin, flying overhead).

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Another very wet day with the river now lapping against the edge of the playing fields at Moulin. A Pied Wagtail was present near Rosshall High School for the fourth time in recent weeks.

Monday, December 09, 2019

A walk along the White Cart from Shawlands to Cardonald produced almost all the expected species including Goosander, Mallard, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Kingfisher, Dipper and Grey Wagtail. Highlight however was a Jay showing extremely well near the M77 flyover. Back home, a Pied Wagtail was feeding near the Tesco petrol station on Paisley Road West to add to the three seen at Moulin over the weekend.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

An extremely wet day today with the water level in the river the highest it has been so far this year. Birds were hard to see through the driving rain but a Grey Heron was in the marsh below Leverndale Hospital and fifteen Mallards had gathered on flooded stubble fields across the river.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

A very wet, windy and dark day meant few birds on show. The local House Sparrows continue to huddle together in favoured Privet hedges (often the untended ones).

Friday, December 06, 2019

A Dipper was showing well on the Westquarter Burn near Falkirk today. Also notable were nineteen Pink-footed Geese on stubble near the Kelpies.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

All the local House Sparrows seemed to be huddled together in a single Privet hedge this morning. Birds in the garden were relatively few, no doubt due to the fierce winds and driving rain.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

A lone Grey Heron was at its usual station on the river in Paisley Town centre this lunchtime.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

An unusual (and unwelcome) occurence today was the presence of four Grey Squirrels (including one with a damaged tail) in my tiny back garden.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Bullfinch and Collared Dove were again the highlights of the birds visiting the garden.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Another frosty day with the temperture staying below zero all day. Nevertheless, two pairs of Collared Doves were singing and displaying, no doubt prompted by the spring-like sunshine.