Saturday, 31 October 2020

Kestrel on Easter Craiglockart Hill

 The weather has been very changeable today. The sun is shining beautifully at the moment but it was windy and rainy while we were walking round Easter Craiglockart Hill this morning. 

The autumn colours were beautiful

We spent a wonderful few minutes watching a kestrel as it hovered around hunting. It's amazing how these birds can stay almost in one spot while the wind roars around them (one of their old names is 'windhover'). This kestrel flew down onto the grass a couple of times, but I couldn't see whether it caught anything. Crafty Green Boyfriend took these photos of the kestrel

Easter Craiglockart Hill is one of many greenspaces in Edinburgh. We're lucky to live in a city with so many areas of natural beauty as COVID-19 restrictions are tightened again and for at least the next two weeks from Monday we won't be allowed to travel outside of Edinburgh (at the moment we're confined to the Lothians). 

Friday, 30 October 2020

Autumnal Red Admiral

 Red Admirals are beautiful butterflies and the species most likely to be seen in Autumn in Scotland. Today we were lucky enough to see two red admirals in North Merchiston Cemetery (part of our Daily Exercise route). Only one allowed a photo, but isn't it lovely?

It was one of many insects enjoying the ivy flowers which are now in bloom (and quite smelly!). There were also several common wasps and at least three species of hoverflies.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Birch and Beech

Silver birch and beech trees are two of the most distinctive trees at this time of year. 

The silver birch leaves turn a lovely golden colour which contrasts beautifully with the distinctive white and black patterns on its bark. There are two birches in the photo below (taken in North Merchiston Cemetery) - the one on the left has a lovely straight trunk and is probably a lot younger than the one on the right with its wonderfully gnarled trunk. The leaves are just starting to turn from green to gold.

Very close to these birches are two beautiful beech trees, which are in the full splendour of their autumn colour

Are you seeing lots of autumnal colour in your part of the world?

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Drumlanrig Castle and Grounds

 For the last instalment of our recent trip to Dumfries and Galloway we visited Drumlanrig Castle and Estate. The castle itself 

was shut due to COVID restrictions but the extensive grounds were open to wander around.

There were lots of interesting fungi to look at, like these fly agaric (which are poisonous, so leave them well alone)

Lovely to see a rainbow

and this little summer house is a lovely place to sit and enjoy the views as well as a work of art 

the ceiling in particular 


We're currently waiting to find out which tier of the new Scottish Government Coronavirus restrictions Edinburgh will be placed under (expecting tier 3, which will remain pretty much like the current temporary restrictions).


Monday, 26 October 2020

Fabulous Fungi

 It's a great autumn for fungi, there are various species growing all over the place at the moment. 

This is one of the most unusual fungi I've found this season (and one of the ones that has turned out best in its photos!). It is growing on a tree stump in Dalry Cemetery, I think it's purple jelly fungus (and am awaiting confirmation on that!) but if you are able to correct me, please leave a comment!

Have you seen any interesting fungi recently? 

For Nature Notes.

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Autumn Colours in Saughton Park

 It's been dull all day and raining for much of the time but the autumn colours are spectacular. We had a lovely wander round Saughton Park over lunchtime,  I particularly like the contrast between these two trees. 

I find autumnal colours can be very difficult to capture on camera, this was the only photo from today that I'm happy with!

Friday, 23 October 2020

Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth


Economics is broken. Outdated economic theories that prize economic growth above all other factors have increased inequality and led to policies that are degrading the living world on a massive scale, threatening our future. Yet these theories still hold sway in economics education and the language and thinking behind economics has moved into all aspects of life from medicine to conservation, making everything seem like a financial transaction.

Kate Raworth identifies seven critical ways in which mainstream economics has failed, and sets out a roadmap for bringing humanity to a point where we meet all our basic needs (the inner ring of the doughnut) within the means of the planet (the outer ring of the doughnut.) Currently we are out of balance on both sides of the doughnut.

The starting point of Doughnut Economics is to meet humanity's goals and to work from there. We need to stop thinking about trying to ensure an ever growing economy and find ways of ensuring we can all thrive without damaging the planetary support systems.

This is a thought provoking and fascinating critique of economics and how we have allowed ideas of the market and GDP to overly influence the way we live. Now however, it is clear that we are living beyond the natural boundaries of the earth while at the same time condemning many people to lives where their basic needs aren't being met. It's time to rethink economics and Doughnut Economics is a great place to start. 

You can read more about Doughnut Economics at Kate Raworth's website

Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth pubilshed by Random House Business Books.


Some thinkers don't think Kate Raworth goes far enough, this blog post from Deirdre Kent suggests some ideas that could be taken forward. 


If Doughnut Economics sounds interesting to you, you may also be interested in the new pamphlet from Global Justice Now, which outlines the implications of the proposed US-UK Trade Deal. You can read Trade Secrets online here