Sunday, 26 April 2015

Keil's Den Spring 2015

A beautiful morning in Keil's Den - sun shining, birds singing and beside the burn, near to the new bridge, carpets of wood anemone.

Wood anemone  Anemone nemorosa)

From the sturdy new bridge can see the old stepping stones and even although it's been an exceptionally dry April so far, some of the stones are under water, so the bridge is a welcome improvement.
Here and there patches of primroses and violets.
A bright yellow-green patch close to the middle bridge in the den. I think that this is golden saxifrage.
It is a plant that grows in damp places, like the banks of a burn. There are two species - Chrysosplenium oppositifolium has opposite pairs of leaves on the main stem, whilst Chrysosplenium alternifolia has its leaves arranged alternately and is much less common.
Bluebells on the bank of a small burn. However, the bluebells are not all out yet particularly in the upper slopes of the den and they should be at their best in a week or two.
Blackthorn was in full flower. The blossom comes out before the leaves.
Walking back into Lundin Links along the path that runs beside a field a pony came to say hello and pose for a picture,
 ..... and was joined by a friend.
I love this view looking back to the den with Largo Law beyond. The lower slopes of the Law are clothed in yellow gorse at present.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Knotted Wrack

Knotted or egg wrack (Ascophyllum nodosum) on the beach at Lundin Links. This is said to be a widespread seaweed but I hadn't spotted it before. The egg-shaped air bladders were about the size of small grapes.
Growing on the egg wrack was the fluffy dark red seaweed, egg wrack wool (Polysiphonia lanosa). It was said to be an obligatory epiphyte - a plant that benefits from growing on another plant for physical support. It makes use of the hosts buoyancy at high tide lifting it closer to the sunlight.
However, the nature of Polysiphponia's relationship with Ascophyllum is still subject to debate. Recent researchers have suggested that Polysiphonia is parasitic as it gains sugars from its host via hyphae sunk into egg wracks tissue. Others suggest Polysiphonia would not still have red photosynthetic pigment if it was a true parasite and hence suggest the relationship is epiphytic.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Scurvy-grass

Common scurvy-grass (Cochlearia officinalis) growing between the rocks at the top of the beach in Lundin Links. It is not a grass but belongs to the cabbage family. The fleshy leaves have a high content of Vitamin C and before citrus fruits were available, in the days of sailing ships when voyages often took months, the leaves were widely used for the prevention of scurvy on board ship. In Gaelic it is called 'The Sailor' (Am Maraiche).


Scurvy grass flower with four sepals and four white petals forming a cross.
There are two other species of scurvy grass - Danish or early scurvy-grass (Cochlearia danica) and English scurvy-grass (Cochlearia anglica). The three plants hybridise readily so it is difficult to be absolutely sure of identification.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Pheasant at the Largo Burn

Often hear the unmistakeable squawk of a pheasant and see them in the fields on each side of the Serpentine Walk but rarely close enough to get a reasonable photo. However, today one flew on to the bank of the Largo Burn which runs at the side of the path. It was going backwards and forwards and seemed to be trying to figure out a way to get through the wire fence into the field.

At this time of year male pheasants are at their most colourful.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Cuckoo-Pint Leaves

Noticed a patch of the glossy, arrow-shaped leaves of cuckoo-pint or lords-and-ladies (Arum macrolatum) growing in the Serpentine Walk in Lower Largo. Later in the spring the unusual flower appears consisting of a pale green cowl-shaped hood called a spathe which partially encloses a purple-brown-topped flowering spike (the spadix). Later still poisonous berries develop, ripening from green to red.
In the garden have a related plant with attractively silver-marbled leaves (Arum italicum). 
Pronounced arrow-shaped leaves.
Looked back and  found a photo that I took in late August 2011 of the berries of cuckoo-pint growing beside the disused railway line track quite close to the old station car park in Lower Largo. By that time the leaves had withered leaving just the berries.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Daffodils in the Serpentine Walk 2015

The daffodils in the Serpentine Walk are just coming to their best. They line one side of the path.

There are several different varieties, some all yellow and some yellow and white.

My favourite is the delicate wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) also known as the lent lily. Unlike the usual familiar all-yellow, the trumpet is as long as the pale outer petals but is of a darker yellow. These are the native daffodils 'fluttering and dancing in the breeze' that inspired Wordworth's famous poem.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Redshanks on the Pier

Two redshanks on the crumbling pier at Lower Largo. The smaller bird in the foreground is I think a turnstone.
In front of the redshanks there were two resting eider ducks.