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.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Monsal Head and Monsal Dale

Looking down on to the Headstone Viaduct in Monsal Dale.
On holiday in the Peak District last week, went to Monsal Head and walked down into Monsal Dale, completing a circular walk that ended with a climb back up to Monsal Head.
Looking down to Monsal Dale.
A spectacular weir at the bottom of Monsal Dale.

A bank of cowslips beside the path.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Rainbows Over Largo

Rainbow over Largo Law from Lundin Golf Course.
An afternoon of sunshine and showers brought some spectacular rainbows.
 Rainbow over Largo Law from the beach walking towards Lundin Links.
Rainbow over Ruddon's Point at the end of Largo Bay.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Cambo in February

 One of the delights of February in Fife is the display of snowdrops at Cambo.
 Snowdrops line the banks of the Cambo burn pushing their way through the fallen leaves.

A clump of primroses.
Pale blue scilla.
 Brightly coloured aconite.
Snowdrops against a background of the strap-like leaves of black mondo.
 The exposed roots of a tree in the woodland.
 Horseshoe fungus (Fomes fomentarius).

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Big Garden Birdwatch 2017

For over 30 years now the RSPB has been conducting a garden birdwatch at this time of year. The public are invited to take part by watching and recording the birds they see in one hour in their garden or a park and sending in their results by post or on-line. My results for this year, taken last weekend, were:

Blackbird: 2
Dunnock: 2
Blue tit: 1
Great tit: 1
House sparrow: 3
Robin: 1
Starling: 2
Chaffinch: 1
Goldfinch: 1

The count was fairly representative of what we see most days. The only other birds that we see regularly are coal tits and woodpigeons. Occasionally see bullfinches long-tailed tits and collared doves.

Friday, 27 January 2017

January Catkins

Hazel catkins In the small v-shaped wood between the two paths in the Serpentine Walk in Lower Largo. I think that it is earlier than normal for these catkins possibly because of the mild December.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

First Snow of 2017

Thought that we had escaped the snow on Thursday, but Friday morning saw a light covering of snow.
Snow covered paths in the Serpentine Walk.

From the middle of the Serpentine Walk looking across snow-covered fields to a stand of trees shaped by the wind.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Surprises at Shell Bay

 Examining the lichen on this rock at Shell Bay, I suddenly was aware of the 'crocodile' lying on top.

A little further along the beach another surprise.

The bright yellow patches are yellow splash lichen - Xanthoria parietina. I think that the grey patches are black shields - Tephromela atra.
Finally I picked up a horseshoe which I found on a path through the woods. It was covered in sand and mud and still had some nails attached but it's polished up quite well. Maybe it will be a lucky one for 2017.