Sunday, 27 November 2011

Daffodil Buds

Daffodils in the garden are in bud. I don't remember seeing them so far forward at this time of year. These particular bulbs are an early variety marketed as a January daffodil, but they don't usually bloom in our garden until around the first week in March. It will be interesting to see when they actually flower.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Brambles in November

Two-thirds of the way through an exceptionally mild November, there are still some flowers on the bramble bushes.
 Brambles ripening.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Faroe Sunset Shell

Picked up a very pretty little shell, around 4.5cm in length on the beach in Lundin Links, one that I hadn't seen before. I thought it looked like a pair of angel's wings! After a bit of searching I identified it as Gari fervensis with the common name Faroe sunset shell.

 The inside of the shell.

The name comes from the markings on the shell which look like rays of the setting sun on the horizon.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Moody Skies

 Grey November skies over Largo Bay with just a hint of brightness from the evening sun.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Autumn Trees

Autumn foliage in the evening sun in Lundin Links.
The needles on the larch tree in the Serpentine Walk turn yellow before falling. The larch is the only European deciduous conifer.

The leaves have fallen off this hawthorn by the side of the path oalong the old railway line in Lower Largo but a profusion of berries remains.
The lichen on this dead tree alongside the path provides a welcome splash of colour.

Ivy flowers along the path. Ivy covers some of the fences along the old railway track. Its yellow-green flowers bloom late and are a good source of nectar for wildlife whilst its dense foliage provides shelter.

The galls on this oak tree in the Massney Braes are more noticable once the laeaves have fallen.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sea Lemon

Saw these strange creatures on the underside of rocks on the beach at Lundin Links. I think that it is a sea lemon (Archidorus pseudoargus). In spite of its common name it is a kind of sea slug. Here I think it is feeding on the orange encrusting sponge, which can also be seen in the photo, although more commonly it feeds on the breadcrumb sponge.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Holey Stones

In a small area of the beach at Lundin Links, I found a number of stones with circular holes in them. The holes are likely to have been naturally made by a rock-boring bivalve mollusc, such as the common piddock (Pholas dactylus). All the stones I found appeared to be of red sandstone. The piddock's shell has a set of ridges or "teeth", which it uses to grind away at clay or soft rock. The shape of the hole made is due to the rotating motion of the piddock as it grinds the rock to form its burrow.

In some of the stones the circular hole goes right through as in these two above which I picked up in the same spot. They were about three inches high. In folklore these sort of stones were given names such as hag stones, Odin stones or witches stones. They were often used as charms, talismen or healing stones. They were thought to have magical powers and were often hung from doors of houses or on bedposts to ward off witches and other evil spirits.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Two-tone Sheep

Always on the lookout for the unusual, I was intrigued by this sheep in the field in front of Largo House bordering the road between Upper Largo and Lundin Links. At first I thought it must have fallen into some mud but looking closely it appeared to have one black hind quarter (one black leg and three white). The wool on this hind quarter was also black. Not sure how unusual this is.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Animal?, Vegetable?, or Mineral?

In the last few weeks I have found quite a few of these objects on the beach at Lundin Links, but I am not sure what they are. They are about the size of an average courgette, and they look a bit like the breadcrumb sponge, as they appear to be covered in oscula, except that they are cylindrical. I thought about a sea cucumber or sea gherkin but not at all sure. I even wondered if it was man-made tubing, that a sponge had grown round. I can find nothing that really looks like these photos either in my sea-shore field guide or in online images. However, searching on the internet, some sites mentioned that breadcrumb sponge will grow round kelp stems so I think that is my best guess so far.