Monday, 11 December 2017

Natural Ice Sculpture

 Very cold and frosty weather lead to these ice formations on the Largo Burn in the Serpentine Walk.

There were also icy patches on the Keil Burn

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Fish Skull

Found the top half of a fish skull on the beach in Lower Largo. It is 8 cm. long and 3 cm. at the widest part. I think it comes from a fish from the family gadidae. This include cod, haddock, whiting and pollock.
 Side view of the skull.
Several years ago I found the skull of a bird on the same beach. It was eventually identified as a guillemot skull. Photographed them together here. They are similar in size but can see that they are quite different. The slender beak in the bird skull identifies it as a diving sea bird.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Saltire in the Sky

Beautiful sunny day yesterday with a bright blue sky. Doing a bit of tidying in the garden, I looked up to the sky and there was a diagonal cross directly above me. It reminded me of the St Andrews Cross. Not sure if  it was caused by aircraft trails or natural cloud or a bit of both.

Friday, 17 November 2017

An Unusual Stone

Picked up this stone on the beach at Lower Largo. It is about 7 centimetres long and heavily pittted. It has a nice pattern, maybe evidence of plant material, but I have very little knowledge of fossils, so not sure whether it's from algae, plant root or fern fronds or even whether the pattern has been hand-carved into the stone. Fife does have locations where fossils from the carboniferous period may be found. East Wemyss a little further along the coast towards Kirkcaldy (about 7miles) is one of the best locations for plant remains.
The stone has some deep holes at one end, perhaps from a rock-boring sea creature.

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Hermitage

The view of the falls from the bridge, just before Ossian's Hall on the circular walk from the car park at the Hermitage.

The Hermitage  is a Scottish National Trust visitor site near Dunkeld in Perthshire. The car park can be reached from the A9 and the site sits on the banks of the River Braan  in Craigvinean Forest. It is home to Ossian's Hall  and Ossian's Cave, follies built by the Dukes of Atholl, in the 18th century to honour the blind bard Ossian. Hewn out of the rock the Hermit's Cave was built around 1760 for the third Earl of Breadalbane, who advertised for a hermit to live there without success.
Ossian's Hall showing the viewing platform at the front.

Ossian’s Hall overlooks the waterfall on the River Braan. It was built in 1757.

 The falls from the viewing platform. The noise s thunderous.
Visited the hermitage many years ago. These two photos show some of the detail of the decoration at that time. Think it must have been raining that day, because there seem to have been raindrops on the lens or perhaps it was spray from the falls. The trust refurbished the hall in 2007 with glass doors to the viewing platform and mirrored panels. Whilst the new d├ęcor is dramatic, I quite liked the classical design that was there, when I first visited. Glad that I have seen them both.

The money tree.
 The view of the river through the trees.
 The side and front entrances to the hermit's cell.

The path through the trees.
Sculpture in the woodland

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Perthshire Autumn Colour

Autumn colour in the woodland surrounding Loch Faskally.
Spent a few days in Pitlochry enjoying the spectacular colours in the woodland walks in the surrounding area.
 Reflections in Loch Dunmore.
 Looking through the trees to Loch Faskally.
 The water's edge at Loch Faskally.
 Woodland walk at the Hermitage, Dunkeld.
Leaves cover this woodland above Pitlochry. It was dusk and there are two roe deer in the centre of this photo. Unfortunately, couldn't get close enough to get a better picture.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Dipper at the Keil Burn

Looking from the bridge on the main road, spotted this dipper flitting about the rocks in the Keil Burn. It settled on a small rock, close to the pipe that goes across the burn. I have seen them here before but never close enough to get a photo.

The white throat and bobbing motion make it instantly recognisable.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Creels and Sea Squirts

 Creels piled up on the pier at Lower Largo.

Many of the creels have sea squirts attached and many are also encrusted with tiny mussels.
Sea Squirts also known as ascidians, are a marine class of animals that fall between the invertebrates and the vertebrates. They are simple animals that are often categorised with the invertebrates, however in their larval stage they do possess primitive vertebrate characteristics.

Although, as here, they may form clusters these particular sea squirts live as individual animals. They feed by siphoning nutrients from sea water. There are two short tubes or siphon openings which allow a flow of water through the body. Water is drawn through the inhalant siphon, and then expelled via the exhalent siphon. As the water circulates through the body; food and oxygen are removed from it and waste products are expelled.

If they are disturbed, they will force the water they contain out of both siphons at the same time which is how they get their name of sea squirt.
A photo taken in a previous year of a creel covered in sea squirts and brittle stars.
Brittle stars or ophiuroids are echinoderms in the class Ophiuroidea closely related to starfish. They differ from starfish in that they have an obvious circular central disc from which arise the five thin, very flexible arms which break easily, hence the name. They often occur in large number under stones lying on gravel and rough sand between large rocks.They crawl across the sea floor using their flexible arms for locomotion. Because the ophiuroids have longer, more slender arms than starfish, they are also known as serpent stars; the class name Ophiuroidea is derived from the Greek meaning "serpent".

Friday, 13 October 2017

October Red Admirals

This has been a very poor year for butterflies, but with the milder weather this week there have been quite a lot of red admirals about.
 Red admirals seem particularly fond of the valerian flowers in my garden.

Friday, 22 September 2017


Strange to see a sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) standing on a pavement in Lundin Links, as I've normally seen them perched on a post or fence. I thought it might be sick or injured, as I got quite close to it but then it heard some small birds chirping in nearby bushes and off it went diving into the bushes in search of its prey.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Heron on Top of the Viaduct

 Spotted a heron at the top of the viaduct in Lower Largo.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

In the Forth today.

Looking across the Forth today could just make out the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

A Tiny Mouse

A tiny mouse by the side of the path in Monsal Dale. Obligingly it stayed absolutely still as I took its picture.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Helicopter on the Golf Course

You know that there's an election in a few days time when a helicopter lands on a golf course and thankfully, it's not because someone is being lifted to hospital by air ambulance which was what I thought when I first heard it.
Helicopter after landing at Lundin Ladies Golf Course yesterday afternoon.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Headstone Tunnel

Some years ago on a previous visit to Monsal Dale we found that the Headstone Tunnel was boarded up and there was no way through. Now it has been opened up and people can walk or cycle through. It forms part of the Monsal Trail.
Built by the Midland Railway it formed part of a main line rail link between London and Manchester.
 Partway through the tunnel. During daylight hours it is lit up.
Light at the end of the tunnel. Approaching the far end.