Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Birnie and Gaddon Lochs on Christmas Day

Looking through the trees at Birnie Loch.
With the tail end of Storm Barbara still blowing decided it was too windy for a beach walk and went instead to the nature reserve of Birnie and Gaddon Loch.
 Plenty of bird life, mute swans and various ducks

A young  mute swan still with some grey feathers.
Fungi on a dead tree trunk.

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.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Colours of May in June

May or hawthorn blossom in the Serpentine Walk.
The may blossom seems to have been particularly spectacular this year, perhaps, flowering later because of the cold spring weather.

Most of the blossom is white but some is tinged pale pink.

This bush in the hedgerow bordering the field between Upper Largo and Lundin Links had bright pink blossom. Couldn't take a close-up photo as it was on the opposite side of the busy road to the pavement.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

A Large Bracket Fungus

Noticed that this diseased tree in the Serpentine Walk which has had its upper branches sawn off had a large bracket fungus growing from the side of the trunk.

 The underside was creamy-yellow.

It was too high up on the tree to see the upper side properly but I think that it's an example of Dryad's Saddle (Polyporus squamosus) so called because it looks like a seat for a dryad or wood-nymph..

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Fog Bank Over the Forth

Looking towards Methil only the top of the large wind turbine can be seen above the fog bank. It looks quite eerie.

 Looking out to sea the fog bank seen from the Massney Braes ...
 ... and from the pier at Lower Largo.
From the old railway track looking over the roof tops across the Forth can just see the tops of the oil platforms.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Wood Pigeon Nesting

There is a wood pigeon  nesting in the eucalyptus tree in our garden. The nest appears to be just a loose collection of twigs and looks extremely precarious.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Barnacle Rock Patterns

Barnacles almost completely covering a rock on Lower Largo beach producing amazing patterns of different colours and sizes.

On the sea side of the rock the barnacles are interspersed with bright green seaweed.
The barnacle covered rock with the Crusoe Hotel behind.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Broken Egg Shell

This broken egg shell was lying close to the path in the Serpentine Walk. From the brown colour and size (about the same size as a small hen's egg) think that it is probably from a pheasant's egg. Female pheasants tend to nest under hedges or in tall grass and this was close to the hedgerow at the edge of the field bordering the footpath. Quite often see and hear pheasants in that field. Hopefully the chick will have successfully hatched from the egg.
The hedgerow at the field edge in the Serpentine walk.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Larch Raspberries

Developing cones on a larch tree in the Serpentine Walk. At first glance they look rather like ripening raspberries. Some of last years cones can also be seen.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

A Miscellany of Birds

Going on holiday to different parts of the country gives an opportunity to see different birds.  These were kittiwakes at Staithes on the North Yorkshire Coast.

Cowbar Nab at Staithes where the kittiwakes were nesting.  Herring gulls nest on the top of the rock and lower down house martins were also present whizzing in and out of their mud nests.
A red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa). Partridges nest on Spaunton Moor but this one had strayed into a garden in Lastingham.
 Near the lake Studley Royal a pair of Swedish Blue Ducks.

There are plenty of pheasants around Largo but not usually as willing as these at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal to have their photos taken.
 A handsome male pheasant.
Two female pheasants. Less brightly coloured than the male but still attractive birds.