Friday, 2 December 2016

The Queen's View

Very cold and frosty weather (5°C) in Pitlochry last week but we were rewarded with sparkling views. The Queen's view in particular was spectacular.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Icy Small Waterfall

Although most of the frost had gone by yesterday afternoon, there was still some sculptural ice at the side of the little waterfall in the middle of the Serpentine Walk.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Autumn 2016 in the Serpentine Walk

Autumn colours in the Serpentine Walk
A viburnum tree with red leaves and red berries.

Autumn is also a good time to see fungi.

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.