Friday, 28 December 2012

Death of a 'Dinosaur'

I always thought that this old gnarled tree trunk in the Serpentine Walk looked like a monster, maybe a dinosaur on its hind legs. Hadn't been to the Serpentine Walk for a few days because of the rain, but yesterday was sad to see that my tyrannosaurus tree trunk had crashed to the ground in the stormy weather.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

A Soft Coral

Found this strange looking object on the beach at Shell Bay on Christmas Day. It looked like a collection of pebbles stuck together but was spongy. Had some difficulty identifying it. At first I thought it might be a sponge or a sea squirt. Now I'm fairly certain that it is a soft coral, Alcyonium digitatum - colloquially known as Dead Man's Fingers.
The surface seems a bit like the skin of an orange in texture. Tiny holes can be seen and in the living organism white polyps extend from these holes withdrawing if disturbed. Each polyp bears eight small tentacles, which gives the colonies a feathery appearance. The pictures in the seashore guides that I have all showed the organism in situ with the polyps extended, which made the identification of the washed up specimen more difficult.
A section through one of the 'fingers'. Each tentacled polyp that make up the colony is housed in a common spongy mass that is given form by the inclusion of minute chalky or calcareous particles. When the polyps are extended the colony filter-feeds on plankton.
This rather gruesome looking picture shows the underside where it was attached to a rock or other solid structure. It was probably detached during the recent stormy weather.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas Day Walk at Shell Bay

Looking towards Largo Law with a cloud cap.
After so much rain Christmas Day showed a marked improvement in the weather, so set off for a morning walk at Shell Bay, before coming home to wrestle with the turkey. Parked in the Fife Coastal Path car park just before the entrance to the caravan park and walked through the woods to the side of the Cocklemill Burn and then followed the path to the beach.
Passed World War II tank traps which are now covered with moss and lichen.

Oystercatchers were on the rocks below
The tide was in so couldn't walk out to Ruddon's Point but had to keep to the top of the beach.
With the stormy weather there was a lot of wood washed on to the beach including this serpent-like branch.
Lichen covered rocks.
At least three species of lichen growing on these rocks. I think that the yellow patches are yellow splash lichen - Xanthoria parietina and that the pale green tufted lichen is sea ivory -Ramelina silquosa.

The sun just beginning to light up the beach.
Looking towards Kincraig Point.
Looking towards Ruddon's Point.

Monday, 17 December 2012

High Tide and Storm Damage

A combination of strong winds and a high tide on Saturday caused considerable damage down the East Coast of Scotland. In Lower Largo much of the surface on one side of the pier has been washed away.

The waves  washing over Lower Largo Pier on Saturday afternoon.
The rocks opposite the pier nearly submerged by the waves.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Alba Na Mara

The Scottish government's fisheries research vessel - FRV Alba Na Mara - in Largo Bay off Lundin Links a couple of days ago.
Roughly translated Alba Na Mara means Scotland's sea or Sea of Scotland. It was commissioned to protect the fish stock in Scottish waters and undertake research of the marine environment to support the sustainable management of Scotlands fisheries.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Clouds Lift Over Largo

 A dreich cloudy morning yesterday but the clouds began to lift in the afternoon as the sun went down producing some spectacular skies.

Largo Law bathed in a pink tinged light as the clouds drift past the summit.
Looking across Largo Bay from Lundin Links as the sun goes down over the Forth.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Lights Come On Over Leven.

Looking across the bay from Lundin Links, the lights come on over Leven at dusk.
I think that the bright glow above the skyline is coming from Mossmorran flaring. The Mossmorran NGL (natural gas liquids) fractionation plant is part of the North Sea Brent oil and gas field system located on the outskirts of Cowdenbeath, Fife. Flaring is an essential part of the plant's safety systems.
Mossmorran is around 18 miles away from Lundin Links so imagine how bright it must look nearby!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Wintry Weather

 No snow at ground level in Lundin Links but through the trees there was a dusting of snow on Largo Law.
As we drove to Peat Inn which is around 6 miles away from Largo but inland and higher up there was a good covering of snow. 
A picturesque snowy scene looking over the garden at The Peat  Inn.
Ice crystals on the back car windscreen.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Across the Forth

Looking across the Forth from Lundin Links, Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh is lit up as the afternoon sun goes down with the Pentland Hills in the background.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

A Seal Pops Its Head Up

Just off the end of Lower Largo Pier a seal popped its head up before diving again and coming up a little further away. Often see seals on the rocks opposite Lundin Golf Course but haven't often seen them swimming around the pier.
Not a great picture as the seal was a little way off and the light was going but I think the characteristic shape of the head can be seen.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Light on the Water

One of the compensations of the short winter days is the quality of the light in the afternoon as the sun goes down over the Forth.

 The view from Lower Largo Pier.

Looking westward across Largo Bay.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Fungi on Tree Stumps

Rotting tree stumps make a good habitat for fungi. I think this is jelly ear fungus on an old tree stump near the path at the top of the Massney Braes in Lundin Links.

More fungi surrounding an old tree stump again at the top of the Massney Braes.
Fungi growing on the top of a stump at the side of the old railway track in Lower Largo.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

A Fife Milestone

There are many of these historic black and white milestones in Fife. This one is at the crossroads on Largo Road opposite the War Memorial. The first two destinations are obviously Leven and Kirkcaldy but it took me a little while to realise that the final destination must be Burntisland.
Symbol carved into the side above.

Update I am grateful to the comment from Gerald (Hyde DP) for the information that the symbol is a benchmark. These were marks cut into milestones, buildings and other permanent structures to give the height above sea level at that particular spot. They were formerly used by Ordnance Survey in surveying.
The destinations on this face Largo, Colinsburgh and St Andrews.

During World War II, all road signs and milestones in the country were ordered to be removed or otherwise hidden from view in case of enemy invasion. Many milestones were lost at that time. However, in Fife they were placed in safe storage and then re-erected at the end of the war.