Saturday, 23 July 2016

Friday, 22 July 2016

The good and the bad on Corstorphine HIll today

I joined Crafty Green Boyfriend to walk round Corstorphine Hill this lunchtime. We were appalled to see how brutally Edinburgh City Council have cut back the pathside verges of this local nature reserve

At this time of year the plants that normally grow in these verges offer home and food for loads of insects and now they'll be forced to find shelter and nutrients elsewhere!

Thankfully most of the hill still looks its beautiful best

and the rosebay willow herb is in full bloom

We were delighted to see these fresh solitary bee holes (that almost look like they could have been made by miniature bunnies!)

As we came down off the hill we got stung by nettles and scratched by brambles, but it was well worth it as the first raspberries are ripe and they're delicious! (Two weeks later than normal!).

No butterflies on the hill today, so we had nothing to contribute to the Big Butterfly Count. But there's still a couple of weeks to go!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Big Butterfly Count

It was a lovely warm and sunny morning in Musselburgh today. I did my bit for the Big Butterfly Count along the John Muir Walkway. I saw four ringlet butterflies and three meadow browns. Unfortunately no photos as my camera ran out of battery power! The Big Butterfly count lasts until 7 August and I hope to see plenty more butterflies before then. You can find out more about the event here.

As well as the butterflies I was delighted to see loads of sandwich terns! These large terns have 'punk hairstyles' and raucous voices - a flock of 50 certainly makes its presence felt and I saw two flocks of 50 today, one near the estuary of the River Esk and the other on Musselburgh Lagoons.

Plus the lime (linden) trees are in flower and smell wonderful, this is one of my favourite scents of summer and it only lasts for just over a week.

Finally, I find small yellow vetches very difficult to tell apart (there are at least four species that look very similar to me), but this is the time of year when I can at least recognise black medick by its distinctive seed heads

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Another pair of curtain ties

I'd collected these orange beads together from old broken vintage jewellery. My idea was immediately to make curtain tie backs with them, but it took a while to find the right contrasting beads to add in, until I found the small dark metallic beads (ignore the blue/green beads in the corner, they're just there for storage at the minute). The round beads are from a collection of similar beads, reclaimed from broken pieces I've made specifically for the purpose of using them in curtain tie backs. I decided not to use the small orange beads that are scattered in the picture, I'll use these for something else.

A word of explanation about where I get my beads from. Many second hand shops sometimes sell cheap bags of jewellery that they've not been able to sell - some of it is in perfect condition (these I usually keep or give to other people who like old jewellery!) but some is broken - either it needs to be restrung or some of the elements are damaged. I buy these bags and rescue the elements that are in good condition to make new items, such as these curtain tie backs.

So when it's all put together, you get two of these

 This pair of curtain tie backs is now in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop, you can see them here.

Monday, 18 July 2016


a white donkey
on the mountainside -
all is lost

a haiku inspired by the film The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes are Not Brothers

This film is showing at Edinburgh Filmhouse until tomorrow. 

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Loch Leven RSPB Reserve

It was a dull and cool day today but we didn't let that put us off our plan to go up to Loch Leven RSPB Reserve with Crafty Green Boyfriend's Mum and brother. It's a long time since any of us have visited the reserve! Plenty has changed since I was last there! The wildflower beds round the centre (complete with small pond and bird feeders) are lovely at the moment

We were delighted to see this family of swallows hanging out in the eaves, the fledglings just emerged from the nest and been fed regularly by the parents (the picture is poor quality as the light is very low under the eaves on a dull day like today)

We walked part of the way round Loch Leven,

The trail is an easy walk and very pleasantly laid out

part of the trail goes past some beautiful wildflower meadows,

with orchids (common spotted orchids I think though I didn't check the leaves for spots)

and ragged robin - not the best photo in the world, but it is a lovely (and generally rare) flower

and then the trail passes through a lovely area of birch wood

We made friends with some horses,

this one was happy to pose for a profile shot

The air was full of mosquitoes, which were very irritating for us, but kept the swifts very happy. I didn't get photos of the swifts, but Crafty Green Boyfriend did and I hope to add those to this blog post very soon! The mosquitoes weren't the only insects around, I was pleased to get my first ever photo of a footballer hoverfly (Helophilus sp)

and this is a Cheilosia illustrata hoverfly
Our only complaint was that the coffee shop shut at 4pm! So we couldn't get a drink before heading back to Edinburgh!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Figgate Flowers

We had a lovely trip to Figgate Park today, it's looking very colourful with all the flowers at the moment

The burn is full of water crowfoot

The pictorial flower meadow is looking beautiful

the insect hotel is currently in bloom too, offering plenty of foods for the hotel's residents

 though this Syrphus hoverfly preferred the thistles

and this marmalade hoverfly preferred a dandelion

The water lilies are in flower

and being enjoyed by insects, including this common wasp

This common spotted orchid was tucked away in  the undergrowth - I seem to be seeing more of these orchids than usual this year!

There weren't as many birds around as normal, but we enjoyed watching this family of mute swans, with greylag geese and a family of mallards in the background

You may find it difficult to find male mallards at this time of year, this is because they are in eclipse - they're moulting and have taken on plumage very similar to the females, but if you look carefully you can see a little bit of green in this male's head

We didn't see many smaller birds at all, but they are well provided for with this new bird feeder