We visited Crafty Green Boyfriend's Mum's garden at the weekend. The nasturtiums are in full bloom and the bees are loving them, including this Common Carder Bumblebee
Tuesday, 9 August 2022
Monday, 8 August 2022
Most weeks, I carry out a river patrol for the Water of Leith Conservation Trust. The area that I patrol stretches from the Trust's Visitor Centre up to Colinton Village and back, picking litter, recording wildlife and chatting to people as I go. It's a lovely walk through areas of riverside woodland and more open meadow areas, with some wildflower meadows, like the one below, on the site of a former watermill, which the trust has planted with mostly wetland plants
However, we aren't in such a bad situation as places down in the south of England, where hosepipe bans have recently been instigated, in an effort to combat the strain on water supplies. There are issues beyond the lack of rain in many areas too, as many water companies are extracting too much water from rivers, or allowing too much extraction. (If you're on Twitter and interested in finding out more about the state of England's rivers, follow Feargal Sharkey, former singer with the Undertones, now keen angler and river campaigner.)
Despite the dry conditions though, the birds in the Dells seem to be thriving. I saw and heard lots of young birds, including long tailed tits, coal tits, chaffinches and robins. Also, two nests of Sparrowhawks seem to have fledged youngsters successfully this year, judging by the loud calls in the areas where they have nested for the past 15 years or more. I only saw one sparrowhawk in Spylaw Park, somewhere over the trees in the background of the photo below (the bird isn't in the photo!)
You never know what you're going to see, here is an interesting growth on a tree stump, I think it's a slime mould (perhaps the slime mould known as False Puffball or Moon Poo?).
Sunday, 7 August 2022
Yesterday we had a lovely walk. We started by walking through Inverleith Park.
Swallows, House Martins and (I think) a Sand Martin were flying above the pond, too quick to catch on film (too quick to identify with certainty in the case of the Sand Martin!). There were several birds on the water too, including a wonderful family of Mute Swans
and this coot
We then walked into the Botanic Gardens.
where the Hydrangeas are looking particularly beautiful.
Friday, 5 August 2022
Hillary is a ladybug (or ladybird as we would call her on this side of the ocean!) Hillary has featured in a number of books written by Mary Cohen, William Dundarand and Elizabeth Revel working as a team with Dundarand providing the illustrations.
In Hillary and Malibug Beach, Hillary and her family are going on holiday to Malibug Beach. Here, Hillary is challenged by local beach goers to a game of volley ball before she is allowed on to the beach. She finds out that some visitors have been littering the beach, and the volleyball is the locals' way of restricting access to the beach.
After the appearance of a green comet causes the ladybugs to mutate, Hillary embarks on an adventure including learning to surf, exploring Malibug Beach and meeting mermaid ladybugs.
It's an engaging story, with some nice meditations on nature:
"Out on the horizon, the sky and water met. They seemed to enjoy the comfort of how they were not the same, but how the sky rested on the ocean. They were like friends who liked and needed each other".
It's lavishly illustrated, but although the photography element of the artwork is beautiful, the cartoon ladybugs irritated me, I expected ladybugs to look more like, well, ladybugs, not humanoids with ladybird wings. But I'm not a child and I don't have children, so I'm not the target audience.
This might be a nice book to introduce children to ideas around the human impact on the marine environment.
Disclaimer: I was sent a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Thursday, 4 August 2022
Wild Carrot has to be my favourite Umbellifer plant, especially at this time of year, when many of the inflorescences are going to seed. These plants are in Edinburgh's Comely Bank Cemetery
I love the way that the inflorescence folds up once it's gone to seed
In the centre of most inflorescences of this plant, there is a red flower, which you can see in the photo below. The red flower is just to the right of the Batman hoverfly (Myathropa florea) which seems to have a particular liking for Wild Carrot.
Wednesday, 3 August 2022
My work continues, surveying wildlife in the cemeteries managed by the City of Edinburgh Council. Yesterday, I visited the northern section of Old Calton Cemetery. The southern part of this cemetery is one of the well known, historical cemeteries in the centre of the city (you can read about my visit there in this post) while the northern section is hidden away, with the entrance being on a side street. The cemetery was cut into two when Waterloo Place was built - you can see the southern section across Waterloo Place in the photo below
The two sections of the cemetery are very different. The southern section is full of decaying old monuments and mausoleums, while the northern section is much smaller. It has three lovely Lime (Linden) trees along the wall
and wonderful views across to Calton Hill with its follies and monuments