Saturday, 19 June 2021

Cygnets in the Rain

We set off this morning to walk to Edinburgh's  Botanic Gardens, after booking our free tickets online (which is what you need to do in these pandemic times). We thought there might be a light shower, but instead found ourselves in the middle of a downpour while walking through Inverleith Park. The adult swans seemed to be happy enough, but the cygnets looked very bedraggled! 

Luckily there's an amazing exhibition on at the Botanics at the moment which we browsed until the rain stopped. 

Tomorrow, I'll  share photos of the beautiful azaleas and rhododendrons that are still in bloom in the Botanics. 

Enjoying nature in the rain for 30 Days Wild.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

A Close Look at Nettles for 30 Days Wild

It's very easy to take nettles for granted, they grow profusely in areas we often refer to as waste ground, they sting and they don't have pretty flowers. But they are really useful for wildlife, many butterflies lay their eggs on nettles for example. Also nettles have culinary and medicinal uses, you can make tea from the leaves and deliberately stinging yourself with nettles can apparently ease arthritis (though I've never met anyone who has been brave enough to try this cure!).

So I was looking closely at some nettles today! 

Several nettle tag moths were flying around, this small moth is usually to be seen on nettles. 

Some of the nettles i was looking at had patches of nettle rust fungus. Almost every species of plant has its own species of rust fungus, though all these fungi look very similar to our eyes. 

What have you been looking closely at in nature? 

For 30 Days Wild.


Tuesday, 15 June 2021

haiku for 30 Days Wild

hearing goldcrests -
I'm not old

haiku for 30 Days Wild

(goldcrests have a very high pitched song, which you can't hear if your hearing is fading)

Monday, 14 June 2021

Tree Following June Update

For Tree Following this year I'm following one of the several wonderful old silver birch trees on North Merchiston Cemetery in Edinburgh. Crafty Green Boyfriend and I started walking round this cemetery (and the nearby Dalry Cemetery) every day for our #DailyExercise during the first UK lockdown last year. And we're still doing the same walk regularly. 

 I realise I'm a little late with this update! Part of the reason is that I've been very busy. 

The birch tree looks beautiful at the moment, fully in leaf and very green

But all is not well, which is another part of the reason this post is late, I was so upset to see that the blue tits' nest box has been damaged - the entrance hole which was so neat and round has been broken into and enlarged and the chicks are no longer in there

This is almost certainly the work of the great spotted woodpeckers, which are also nesting in the cemetery. Last year the great spotted woodpecker chick became a bit of a local celebrity 

and there is every sign that the woodpeckers are nesting in the same tree again this year (the youngsters haven't yet appeared but there is a lot of noise inside the tree trunk!).

So, I like great spotted woodpeckers and I know they need to eat, and I know that they sometimes eat blue tits, but why did they need to eat our blue tits?

For Tree Following

For 30 Days Wild

Friday, 11 June 2021

Explore a Cemetery for 30 Days Wild

 Since the first lockdown was announced over a year ago now, Crafty Green Boyfriend and I have really discovered the local cemeteries as wildlife havens. There's a huge variety of birds, insects and mammals in both Dalry Cemetery and North Merchiston Cemetery, not to mention the trees, wild flowers and fungi. 

I took these photos earlier today in North Merchiston Cemetery

Since lockdown, Friends Groups have sprung up to help look after the cemeteries in Edinburgh (though several of the Friends groups predate lockdown). Joining one of these friends groups is a great way of helping to protect these vital green spaces.

Do you have a favourite local cemetery to wander round?

Thursday, 10 June 2021

The West Lothian coast of the Firth of Forth

Today we took a trip into West Lothian. We had lunch in the open air section of the Rouken Glen Garden Centre. After lunch we wandered along the path through the allotments, where lots of the pretty orange hawkweed (which is often called fox and cubs) grows 

 We then went up to Blackness Castle, which is only open if you have booked in advance. 


However we were only interested in walking around along the shore 


and up the hill.

It was very windy, which judging from the shape of the hawthorn tree below, is the usual type of weather for the area. 

 There were quite a few swallows and house martins flying around, which is always nice to see but I don't even try to capture them on film as they're so speedy!

 For 30DaysWild.

Monday, 7 June 2021

Buttercups for 30 Days Wild

 The buttercups are beautifully in bloom at the moment, here are some photos from earlier today in Colinton and Craiglockart Dells

(in the photo above, you can also see comfrey, which is covered in bees at the moment, which is lovely, as there seem to be fewer bees than usual this year, probably partly due to the strange weather, but also partly due to overall insect declines)

For 30DaysWild.