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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, June 30, 2020

A walk around central Paisley this lunchtime found lots of singing Greenfinches plus a group of Rooks, two Swallows and a House Martin all feeding on Saucel Hill.

Monday, June 29, 2020

A Kingfisher was alarm calling near Bonyholm Bridge this evening. Overnight, a Map-winged Swift had to be rescued from the house by one of the junior naturalconnectors.

Photo by E.M.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Another very wet and windy day. Highlight of the usual walk along the river and round the park was yet another brood of young Moorhen chicks on Rosshall park Pond (I have lost count of how many there have been this summer).

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Two Peacock butterfly larvae were on the path at Moulin today (perhaps disturbed by the torrential rain).

Friday, June 26, 2020

Small numbers of Siskins remain in the south Cardonald area after the "arrival" of last week. A newly-fledged Robin was with two adults in the garden.Stock Doves continue to show well along the river with four seen and one heard singing.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

I've been enjoying the daily visits to the garden feeders of a juvenile Bullfinch along with its parents. The juvenile's call is like that of the adults but is noticeably more squeaky and strident.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The juvenile Bullfinch was again in the back garden, this time accompanied by its two parents. Another juvenile was along the river near the school. A Brown Rat was an unusual mammal sighting.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The two Siskins which had been visiting the garden for the past few days increased to three today. Also notable was a Grey Heron in Rosshall Park and a fledgling Magpie beside the Bonnyholm bridge.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Some of the highlights of an early walk around the farmland between Barrhead and Neilston were four Swifts viewed from above as they fed over Glanderston Dam, a Common Frog on the path up to Neilston Pad, a single Greater Butterfly Orchid,  a singing Yellowhammer, Linnets at two sites and a flyover Raven.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

A day of sunshine and showers, with the strong winds of last night thankfully abating as the day progressed. a pair of Siskins spent prolonged spells in the garden, as did pairs of Bullfinch and Robin.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Most notable sighting of the day involved a newly-fledgd Bullfinch which appeared on the back garden feeders - no surprise really as the species has been present almost every day since winter.

Friday, June 19, 2020

A Wood Mouse was on the path along the river near Rosshall Park this evening. I have probably seen more this year than in the last ten years put together.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Two Siskins briefly visiting the back garden feeders today were my first locally for several months.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Another good breeding season looks in the offing for Moorhens locally with two second broods on Rosshall Park Pond and six of the previous broods still present (plus at least two pairs on the adjacent river). A Meadow Brown butterfly was near the footbridge to Mosspark Station and a curious Red Fox cub was at the entrance to its den.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

At least three Nuthatches were around the nest tree in Rosshall Park this afternoon, with some feeding of one bird by another, all indicative of successful fledging.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Enjoyed a nice walk into the Kilpatrick Hills before the crowds arrived (it is a very popular spot, judging by the number of people coming up to hill as I headed back down). Some highlights included Stonechat, Whinchat, Tree Pipit, Osprey and drumming Snipe.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Today eventually turned into a warm, summer's day. The Giant Hogweed inflorescences, which are really spectacular this year, seemed to be attracting excellent numbers of bees and hoverflies. Ladybirds and other beetles were on Bramble flowers.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

The Coal Tit family were back at the feeders, as were a succession of juvenile Blue and Great Tits. Blackbird song seems to be tailing off a little but three male Song thrushes continue to sing, locally. Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff are quieter but still singing. Chaffinch and Greenfinch are just as noisy.

Friday, June 12, 2020

An adult Coal Tit brought three juveniles into the garden to feed from the hanging feeders. Two Bullfinches also visited from time to time.

Thursday, June 11, 2020


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The most notable sighting locally today concerned a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull which had joined the summering adults on Moulin playing fields (now numbering at least 20 individuals).

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Things are noticeably quieter locally, with many species having all but ceased singing. However broods of young are proving quite noisy including Wrens, Blue Tits and Long-tailed Tits (including an adult feeding a fledged juvenile). Some birds still have broods in the nest and two Blackbirds carrying food were obviously in this category. Interestingly, the local Brambles have begun to bloom since the weekend - exactly the same timing as the flowering taking place 400 miles south of here in Chris Packham's New Forest.

Monday, June 08, 2020

Went on a rather long exercise walk today which enabled me to get to an area of upland and woodland with some interesting species including Tree Pipit, Lesser Redpoll, Jay and Spotted Flycatcher (one of which I had the pleasure of watching for an extended period while I sat in a sunny meadow eating my lunch). There were some interesting plants on the way including Lords and Ladies in damp woodland and Navelwort on scree. Insects were represented by many moths (including Chimney Sweeper and the very distinctive Speckled Yellow), Meadow Brown butterflies, Common Blue Damselflies and Midges! Intrigued by a feature on local maps called the "Dog Suicide Bridge". A bit of research revealed quite a story

Speckled Yellow


Lords and Ladies

Sunday, June 07, 2020

An adult Grey Heron was fishing the weir next to the Rosshall Park gates this afternoon.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

A beautiful male Greenfinch was on the feeders in the back garden - the first here for a few months. A Coal Tit was also an interesting visitor as they don't seem to be as keen to bring their young to the feeders as the Great and Blue Tits.

Friday, June 05, 2020

A blustery day meant many of the usual birds were quiet or hidden. However there were 34 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the school playing fields, suggesting that the small summering flock is now being supplemented by failed breeders. Many of the drake Mallards are now well into their eclipse moult.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

There were fledged broods of Long-tailed Tits at three points around my home 1km square today. Also a brood of Treecreepers and one of Great Tits.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

After failing to find any in my home square for at least a month, today I came across three Grey Wagtails including two together around the weir near the park gates and one on the quiet stretch east of Cardonald Place footbridge. Three Red Fox cubs were playing near their den not far from there.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Several of the drake Mallards on the river are now well into their eclipse moult and are looking decidedly tatty. A pair of Blue Tits (possibly those from the nestbox on the back wall) brought their four fledgelings to the garden feeders and fed them with pieces of sunflower heart. Tonight there was some much-needed rain. I am sure the Blackbirds and Song Thrushes will have an easier time now. 

Monday, June 01, 2020

Today's expedition was to the SWT reserve at Loch Ardinning, just north of Milngavie and required a 2.5 hour walk there and back (neary 40K steps in total). However the weather was perfect and there were many memorable natural connectons. Probably the main highlight was up to five Cuckoos with three calling males (two showing well calling from tree tops and flying across the reserve) and (unusually) two bubbling females. I also heard another male at Drumclog Moor. Other memorable encounters included clouds of insects (including several Chimney Sweeper moths), flying up from the grass with every step, good views of a Jay, several singing Tree Pipits (other notable singers were Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Garden Warbler, Redpoll, Reed Bunting and the usual Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Chaffinch), a good range of (presumably breeding) waders on surrounding land including Lapwing, Curlew and Snipe (plus Common Gull), a family party of Stonechats, a pair of Blue Tits feeding chicks in a hole in a tree, a lovely buck Roe Deer, several Four-spotted Chasers (in addition to numerous Large Red and Common Blue Damselflies) and flowering Woodruff and Ragged Robin (with Dog's Mercury in Mugdock Wood and both White and Yellow Water Lillies on Mugdock Loch). Some good breeding evidence for Mugdock Wood came in the form of a Treecreeper carrying food back to its nest. Some possible breeders at West Rugby Club consisted of Oystercatcher and Pied Wagtail. A fine specimen of Kniphofia was flowering on a traffic island at Canniesburn. Finally, two Swifts screamed over the back garden at 21:00.


Dog's Mercury