Thursday, 27 June 2013

Yellowhammer at the Top of the Tree

Often hear a yellowhammer in the Serpentine Walk, with its distinctive 'a little bit of bread and no cheese' call and sometimes there is a flash of yellow as it flies across the path but don't often see them clearly, especially when the trees are in full leaf. However, today this male with its bright yellow head was singing at the top of the tree.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Buttercups in Profusion

A mass of buttercups growing amongst the cow parsley in the bed of the disused railway track in Lundin Links. In the foreground there are also tiny specks of bright blue speedwell. (Click to enlarge photo)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Canopy Closing Over

The canopy above the path in the Serpentine Walk begins to close over as the trees come into full leaf.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Blackened Seashells

Blackened oyster shells (left) cockle shells (right) and scallop shell (centre).

I had occasionally seen partly blackened cockle shells on the beach at Lower Largo, then last week I picked up two black oyster shells and a black scallop shell. I originally thought that the cause might be connected with the Fife coal deposits, but now I don't think that is the cause and I am indebted to 'Jessica's Nature Blog' for an explanation. It's quite a complicated process but as I understand it, once the animal dies the shell over time may become buried deep in the sand by the action of wind and wave power. At this deep level there is a lack of oxygen and the only bacteria that can survive are anaerobes. As these anaerobic bacteria feed on organic matter that is present in the sand they produce hydrogen sulphide. This chemical reacts with iron oxide present on the sand grains to produce iron sulphide which is black in colour and it is this which can turn the deeply buried shells black.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

A Delicate Structure

Found this bird skull on the beach between Lundin Links and Lower Largo. Not sure what bird this skull (about 10cms in length) belonged to but what a wonderfully delicate and intricate structure. The beak is slender so possibly a small diving sea bird.
Finally identified as a guillemot skull. See post for 8th July 2014.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Common Storksbill

A patch of common storksbill (Erodium cicutarium) which was growing on the sandy soil of the Massney Braes just above the beach in Lundin Links.
The long seed-pod, which can be seen towards the top left of the above photo and close-up below is shaped very much like the bill of a stork, and gives the plant its name.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Bluebell Heaven

Perhaps it's my imagination, but the bluebells seem to have been particularly spectacular this year. Recently visited Muncaster Castle in Cumbria and the walk through the woodland, carpeted with bluebells, was certainly heavenly.

Locally, there have been bluebells on banks and lining footpaths where I don't remember seeing them before, at least not in such profusion. Above and below the bluebells in the woodland in the grounds of Wemyss Castle which were open to the public over a recent weekend for a clematis festival.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Eider Ducks with their Ducklings

Eider ducks with their ducklings just off the shore in front of the Massney Braes at Lundin Links. Counted twenty ducklings in all.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Green-Veined White Butterfly

Green-veined white butterfly (pieris napi) on cow parsley in the Serpentine Walk.

On the wing I find it difficult to distinguish between the white butterflies, particularly the small white, female orange tip and the green-veined white. However, when they are still with wings closed, it becomes easier. Here can see the greenish-grey marking on the underside of the wing which give this butterfly its name.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker - Dendrocopus major

During our recent trip to Cumbria saw this woodpecker from a hide in the National Trust property at Acorn Bank. I have never seen one in Lundin Links although some friends in the village have had them visiting their bird feeders.