Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Horsetail - An Ancient Plant

When I first saw these stems at the side of the disused railway track in Lower Largo, I thought they were a type of fungi.
It was only when I saw them growing together with the bottlebrush like stems of the horsetail that I realised they were connected. The initial shoots are fertile and have cones on top.

Stems of Horsetail.
These are the infertile stems ad have been called the Lego plant because they are in sections, which can be taken apart and put together again.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Thrush on the beach

Thrushes are well known for their habit of smashing garden snail shells on a stone to get at the contents, but this thrush on the beach at Lower Largo was smashing a conical sea shell on a rock to get at the mollusc inside.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Terns at Lower Largo

Terns on the rocks opposite the pier at Lower Largo
(Click photo to see larger image)
Last summer saw a lot of terns plunge-diving into the sea near the pier at Lower Largo harbour, but this is the first time I've seen them sitting on these rocks. Not sure which species of tern these are.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Boats Back at Lower Largo Harbour

Small boats back at Lower Largo Harbour for the Summer.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Largo Bay - East, West, North and South

From the grounds of the excellent restaurant at Monturpie, just outside Upper Largo, there is a complete view right round Largo Bay. To the East in the above photo can see Ruddock's Point at the end of the bay, with the much smaller Shell Bay beyond that. To the South, across the Forth estuary can just see the outline of North Berwick Law and the East Lothian coast.

To the West are the towns of Leven and Methil. The chimney of the now moth-balled Methil Power Station can be seen.

To the North the dominant feature is Largo Law the neck of an extinct volcano, its lower slopes bright yellow with gorse.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Upper Keil's Den and Pitcruvie Castle

Keils Den Upper Bridge.

There are two bridges in Keil's den a lower wooden bridge and a stone bridge at the top which carries the road over the Keil Burn. It is a very attractive spot. In the Spring the walk is beautiful the area is covered in bluebells primroses, violets and other Spring flowers.

Pitcruvie Castle (Click photos to see larger image)

In the approach to the bridge, get a view of the ruins of Pitcruvie Castle. It was built in the early 16th Century by Sir John Lindsay of Pitcruvie.

Book Review

Sepulchre by Kate Mosse
This was a good read, but not sure I really like novels that jump back and forward in time. I just get into one strand of the book, then get transported back to a different time with different characters. Found the whole book a bit fey for my taste, but nevertheless quite enjoyable.
Peviously read Labyrinth.

Voices by Arnaldur Indridason
Not sure why I enjoy these rather gloomy crime novels by the Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason, but I do. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Good plot, good characterisation. Get the impression that the long dark Icelandic Winters affects everything and everyone in Iceland.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Narcissus-Pheasant's Eye
The Spring bulbs are coming to an end. Mainly just some tulips and the lovely late flowering pheasant's eye narcissus (above) left. Welsh poppies and forget-me-nots have self-seeded everywhere and for the moment have taken over the garden.
Flowers in Bloom - Mid May
Narcissi - Pheasant's eye
Grape hyacinth
Bluebells (Spanish)

Other Flowers in Bloom
Wallflower - perrenial and biennial
Hellebores (3 different)
French Lavender
Primulas - various
Polyanthus - various
Welsh poppies,
Clematis montana
Hardy geraniums

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Pied Wagtail

A pied wagtail sitting on the wall underneath the viaduct at Lower Largo.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Bluebell Musings

A wonderful bank of bluebells on the edge of Keil's Den.
A bluebell, is a bluebell, is a bluebell isn't it. Well, apparently not. In Scotland the purists would call a bluebell a wild hyacinth, although 'Walking through a wild hyacinth wood' doesn't sound nearly so poetic. The Scottish bluebell is called a harebell in England and is a campanula and a much more fragile delicate plant.
And then there is the Spanish invasion. The Spanish bluebell was first introduced into British gardens as an ornimental plant around 1680, so it seems a bit late to start worrying about it. It was favoured over the native bluebell because it can grow almost anywhere and has sturdier, larger blooms. Its flowers range from blue to white or pink.
Another complication is that the Spanish bluebell hybridises with our native bluebell, and the hybrid is known as the Garden bluebell.
Top right is the native bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta). The flowers droop to one side and it has narrow strap-like leaves. The other three photos are of Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica). They are much more upright, have broader leaves and can be blue, pink or white. Most of the bluebells in Keil's Den appear to be the native bluebell. However, there are some patches of the Spanish bluebell and possibly the hybrid. These are mainly near the entrance to the den. Along the disused railway track at Lower Largo and the Serpentine Walk, the bluebells appear to be mainly the Spanish variety.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Swans Nesting at Lower Largo - 2

Mute swan sitting on nest. (Click photo to see larger image.)
Had another look at the swans nesting at Lower Largo. As the female shifted position, one egg could clearly be seen. The male was in close attendance and in the photo the outline of the egg can just be seen above his head.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Swans Nesting at Lower Largo

The pair of mute swans that have been resident in Lower Largo since mid-March now appear to be nesting just North of the harbour on the rocky banks of the Keil Burn. One or both swans have been at this spot for the last few days. I fear for them as it seems rather a public, exposed place. If we had heavy rain and the burn was in spate, or there was a very high tide, I think that the nest might be under water. Hope I'm wrong.

Click photos to see larger image.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Under the Shadow of Largo Law

A peaceful scene. Cows with their calves grazing with Largo Law in the background, seemingly quite oblivious to the traffic rushing by on the Main Road between Lundin Lnks and Upper Largo. The lower slopes of the Law are covered in the bright yellow flowers of gorse bushes.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Yellow's on the Broom

Broom - Cytisus scoparius

Broom in flower on the edge of Leven Links Golf Course. There was also a profusion of gorse or whin in flower. Both members of the pea family, the broom differs from gorse in having no spines.

When yellow's on the broom, When yellow's on the broom,

I'll tak' ye on the road again, When yellow's on the broom

Adam MacNaughton

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

"May Be Out"

Hawthorn (May) Flowers.

Lovely warm day and saw the first of the hawthorn flowers in the Serpentine walk and in the hedgerow along the main road between Upper Largo and Lundin Links. I think it is later into flower this year, but April was very cold here.
"Ne'er cast a clout, till May be out." Never very sure whether this referred to the May flowers blooming or the month of May being over. Seems more likely that it refers to the flower.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Periwinkles Making Tracks

Periwinkle. Can just see the tentacles coming out from the front of the shell.
Took a walk from Lower Largo along the disused railway line. Saw a yellow wagtail in the trees on the landward side of the path. Walked back along the beach as the tide was going out. Noticed there were tracked grooves in the sand, and then saw that it was the periwinkles that were making the tracks.
In this photo (above) can clearly see the track that the periwinkle has made.

Periwinkles attached to a nearby rock. The periwinkles on the move seemed to be going in the direction of this rock. (Click on photos to see larger images)

Friday, 2 May 2008

Woodland Glades

Spring woodland flowers. (Clockwise from top right - Wood sorrel, Bluebell, Wood Anemone, Lesser Celandine. Click on photo to see larger image)
Before the canopy of the trees fully develop, the early woodland flowers, notably bluebell, lesser celandine and wood anenome cover the woodland floor. Today walked through Keil's den, a wooded area on both sides of the Keil Burn which eventually flows into Largo Bay. This is an area of ancient woodland which is now managed by the Woodland Trust. The Spring flowers today were amazing - carpets of bluebells, banks of lesser celandine. There were also patches of wood anenomes, primroses, violets and wood sorrel.
At the edge of the woodland peacock butterflies were flitting about, and also orange tip butterflies, my first sighting of them this year.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

May Birdwatch

Robin 1
Wood pigeon 4
Dunnock 2
Blue tit 1
House sparrow 2
Starling 2
Chaffinch - male 1
Blackbird - male 2
Crow 1

There are also swallows swooping overhead, hoovering up the insects. Starlings are nesting in the eaves, and busy flying backwards and forwards with food. If I go up into the loft I can hear the baby starlings cheeping - feed me, feed me, feed me.!

Book Reviews
Grief Encounters by Stuart Pawson
I always enjoy reading a Stuart Pawson crime novel. He has a light touch and his sense of humour appeals to me. His creation DI Charlie Priest is a likeable character.

The Secret Hangman by Peter Lovesey
Peter Lovesey is another author that I enjoy. The Peter Diamond novels are set in Bath, a city I know quite well, which always helps. This book was quite grizzly, with a serial hangman leaving bodies in well known tourist attractions in the city. I thought the plot was a little over contrived.