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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, October 31, 2020

Todays walk along the river was earlier than usual so more birds (and mammals) were about. Fourteen Fieldfares, a couple of Stock Doves and a Nuthatch were all interesting. So too were 23 Grey Squirrels and seven Brown Rats.

Friday, October 30, 2020

A female Sparrowhawk (being mobbed by a Carrion Crow), a lone Grey Heron and a pair of Bullfinches were the highlights of today's walk along the river. The sunshine was much apprecited, especially as Storm Aidan is due to hit us tomorrow.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

On a very wet and windy day locally, some less regular birds were found including a Grey Wagtail over the school, a Pied Wagtail over Moulin Estate and a slightly unusual Mallard (maybe with some Black Swedish genes).

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Other duties to attend to today, so no naturalconnections to report :-(

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

A Brown Rat was again a rather unwelcome sight on my usual walk along the river. An increase in Redwings was apparent with tens of birds (rather than the single figures of recent days) dropping down from the highest treetops to feed on the lower, berry-bearing trees. A Nuthatch was calling in the area where a pair nested earlier in the year. Wren and Robin were singing and Dunnocks were noisily calling to/at eachother.

Monday, October 26, 2020

A sub-adult Grey Heron and an adult Cormorant were the highlights of today's walk along the river.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

A glorious, scarlet-leaved Japanese Maple lit up a rainy morning in Rosshall Park today. A Kingfisher perched in the open over the river.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

A break in the rain this lunchtime meant that a walk from Darnley, up through "the dams" to Newton Mearns took place mostly in very welcome sunshine. Some highlights included a group of Wigeon on Walkmill Glen Reservoir and an amazing flotilla of 32 Goosanders on Ryat Linn Reservoir (the arrival of which flushed a Dipper from the far bank).

Friday, October 23, 2020

A Kingfisher called, unseen, from the river downstream of the Bonnyholm Footbridge. Feral Pigeon and Wren were singing along with the usual Robins.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

A Pied Wagtail was calling from the roof of Dunelm in Abbotsinch Retail Estate this afternoon. A Tawny Owl called several times behind the house at eleven o'clock this evening.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Best birds of an afternoon spent walking around a rainy Lochwinnoch were two Ravens over the north of the village, two Fieldfares along the cycle track and the Wood Duck now in full breeding plumage. Italian Lords and Ladies was flowering along the Calder and it was also good to see the patch of rustyback growing from the wall of the old barn on Calderhaugh Lane.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

After yesterday's heavy and prolonged rain, the river was swollen and fast flowing. As a result, few birds were braving the conditions. Redwings were calling overhead and Jackdaws were moving about between the showers. A lot of leaves have come down this week.

Monday, October 19, 2020

The dams at Murdieston Park, Greenock were wet and windswept this morning. A male Goosander moulting into its breeding plumage was the pick of the birds present. Heading up the motorway, Pink-footed Geese and Whooper Swans were feeding on stubble, oblivious to the traffic thundering by. This evening, a Brown Rat was feeding on grain put down for the Grey Squirrels and Woodpigeons along the river. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

A busy day socially meant no natural connections, although the Jackdaw roost in the woods next to the house is hard to miss. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Clyde off Ardmore Point this morning was very still, making the birds dotted out on the water much easier to see. Five Slavonian Grebes were quite close to shore enabling their red eyes to be made out. Similarly, one of five Red-throated Divers still had its lovely red throat. Other good birds included a couple of winter-plumaged Black Guillemots and a single Rock Pipit. A Kestrel on the White Cart Viaduct near Glasgow Airport was my third of the month. To put that figure in context, I had only seen three in the previous nine months.

Friday, October 17, 2020

A Dipper on the river was a very unusual visitor. I have recorded it only four times in my home 1km square in the past ten years, even though I have had many sightings both up and down river of here. The bird flew along the river, calling, a couple of times and stopped to sing briefly. Also notable (although not nearly so rare) was a single Goosander. 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

A Red Fox was dozing in the sun on the south bank of the river when we walked past along the north bank.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Best sighting of a walk up Doughnot Hill in the Kilpatrick Braes was a male Kestrel which flew right across the glen from the Lang Craigs to Black Craig. Also overhead were Raven and Buzzard.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Goldfinches were again prominent around the local patch.  Redwings are "see-eep"ing over constantly. A Carrion Crow x Hooded Crow was up Arbroath Avenue.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Goldfinches seem to have returned to my local area with birds at four separate locations today. At least one Lesser Black-backed Gull is still hanging on. It seems to me that more and more have been skipping their annual migration in recent years and instead staying in the area all winter.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

A Jay flew over the M80 just south of Cumbernauld this morning. Over a hundred Greylag Geese were on the beach at Blackness while a Nuthatch called in the woods. A young Wood Mouse was naively running along the middle of the cycle path and had to be shepherded to safety. Waxcap fungi were pushing through the grass in front of Blackness Castle.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Seven Red-breasted Mergansers were at Lunderston Bay this afternoon, an adult male and a juvenile male energetically displaying to the females. 

Friday, October 09, 2020

It was wet and dreary in Shawlands this lunchtime. A lone Mallard was on the river, the rest presumably taking cover somewhere. A flock of Long-tailed Tits, as usual, was undeterred by the weather.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Around thirty Starlings had gathered to pick up scraps from a snack bar in the west end of Paisley today. Two Black-headed Gulls were bickering above the traveller site. Back home, an immature Grey Heron was on the river.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

With the water level (and clarity) in the White Cart back to normal, two female goosanders were snorkeling near the Bonnyholm Weir. A Brown Rat was again taking food put out near Rosshall Park for the birds. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

South Cardonald was full of birds today. For instance two Nuthatches were feeding on scattered birdseed, six Blackbirds were feeding on the path up to the Moulin footbridge and thirty Mallards were between the river and the pond. Other good totals were 23 Robins, fourteen Great Tits, nine Coal Tits and 33 Magpies. The Virginia Creeper on the park gatehouse and the Acers along Crookston Road are looking fantastic. A good range of still-flowering plants added even more colour.

Monday, October 05, 2020

A Pine Ladybird was a visitor to the house yesterday late afternoon. Today, birds were fairly scarce during a walk along the river late morning, although a few Rooks and Black-headed Gulls were waiting to claim the remains of the lunches of local schoolchildren.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Three Redwings along the river first thing were my first of the autumn. Lots of resident species were out and about exploiting the break in the weather and checking to see what food items had been made available by yesterday's rain. Woodpigeons continue to move high over the area, many heading south east. Blackbirds continue to be much more visible than they have been for several weeks. Even a Song Thrush sang briefly.

Saturday, 03 October, 2020

A day of incessant rain meant no natural connections at all.

Friday, October 02, 2020

A Chiffchaff was again calling from just over the garden fence. Two Goosanders remain on the river opposite the house.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

A Collared Dove was singing outside the house today. More Blackbirds seem to be around - I saw one feeding on Hawthorn berries yesterday. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Birds heard flying over the back garden today included Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Siskin and Goldfinch.