Monday, 10 October 2016

A Far-Travelled Butterfly

 A painted lady butterfly enjoying the early October sunshine on valerian flowers in the garden. It is a migrant from North Africa. There is a programme on BBC 4 tonight about the extaordinary journey that it makes.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Empty Barnacle Shells

Spotted this sculptured-looking shell on the beach at the Temple in Lower Largo. I think that it's a common otter shell (Lutraria lutraria) but it's encrusted with empty barnacle shells, probably from the acorn barnacle (Semibalanus balanoides) which has a diamond shaped aperture.
Close up of the empty barnacle shells which have a cone shaped shell-wall comprising a number of calcareous plates. In acorn barnacles the shell-wall consists of 6 greyish-white plates and there is also a membranous basal plate. The opening at the top of the 'cone' is diamond-shaped.
One of the barnacles has been knocked off but can still see the basal plate by which it was attached (middle left of photo).

Monday, 15 August 2016

A Colourful Bank

A colourful bank of purple and gold flowers at the foot of the Massney Braes in Lundin Links. The gold comes from tansy flowers and the purple from common knapweed.

For many years, tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) was used as a medicinal herb despite its toxicity. A bitter tea made with tansy flowers has been used for centuries as an anthelmintic to treat parasitic worm infestations, and tansy cakes were traditionally eaten during Lent because it was believed that eating fish during Lent caused intestinal worms. However, it has no place in modern herbal medicine.

Common knapweed (Centaurea nigra) is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family known by various other names e.g. lesser knapweed, black knapweed and hardheads.
Knapweed is a good source of nectar attracting bees and butterflies. Its seeds also provide food for many birds.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Goslings Amongst the Petrol Pumps

Sometimes wildlife appears in the most unexpected places. Travelling back from holiday along the M74 stopped at the Annandale Water Service Station and was quite amazed to see several geese and goslings wandering amongst the parked cars and on the petrol station forecourt.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Colours of May in June

May or hawthorn blossom in the Serpentine Walk.
The may blossom seems to have been particularly spectacular this year, perhaps, flowering later because of the cold spring weather.

Most of the blossom is white but some is tinged pale pink.

This bush in the hedgerow bordering the field between Upper Largo and Lundin Links had bright pink blossom. Couldn't take a close-up photo as it was on the opposite side of the busy road to the pavement.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

A Large Bracket Fungus

Noticed that this diseased tree in the Serpentine Walk which has had its upper branches sawn off had a large bracket fungus growing from the side of the trunk.

 The underside was creamy-yellow.

It was too high up on the tree to see the upper side properly but I think that it's an example of Dryad's Saddle (Polyporus squamosus) so called because it looks like a seat for a dryad or wood-nymph..

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Fog Bank Over the Forth

Looking towards Methil only the top of the large wind turbine can be seen above the fog bank. It looks quite eerie.

 Looking out to sea the fog bank seen from the Massney Braes ...
 ... and from the pier at Lower Largo.
From the old railway track looking over the roof tops across the Forth can just see the tops of the oil platforms.