Tuesday, 22 September 2020

The difference a week makes

 There's a wonderful patch of porcelain fungi (Oudiemansiella mucida) in Craiglockart Dell along the Water of Leith. This patch has appeared at this time of year for a couple of years now. Some fungi behave differently and are much less reliable in terms of where they can be found.

Last week it looked like this: 

and this week it looks like this 

Fungi change quickly, don't they?

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Squirrels and Sunshine at the Botanic Gardens

 Yesterday we had a lovely visit to Edinburgh Botanic Gardens. It was another sunny autumnal day and the gardens looked lovely. We were delighted to meet this grey squirrel who seemed happy to pose for the camera 

and this one who was too busy to even look at the camera

Despite autumn being here already, there are still plenty of hoverflies visiting the flowers

Eristalis sp 

Helophilus pendulus (footballer hoverfly) 

Syrphus sp and hawthorn shield bug 

The gardens have several rowan trees, of different species, which have different coloured berries 

The Botanics cafe is now open again, but only drinks and basic cold snacks for take away or outdoor eating. Currently, to allow for visitor numbers to be managed to allow for better social distancing, Edinburgh Botanic Gardens have an online advance booking system. We were able to book a time slot with just a couple of hours notice though, so you can still be fairly spontaneous! 

We also had a walk through Inverleith Park where the mute swans were resting by the pond 

Friday, 18 September 2020

A Sunny Autumnal Day at Dalkeith Country Park

We're continuing our staycation and yesterday had a lovely visit to Dalkeith Country Park just outside Edinburgh. This is a beautiful place to explore.

The most impressive part of the park is the old oak woodland, which is full of ancient oak trees

We were delighted to see lots of speckled wood butterflies around the whole park

I love watching these butterflies as they dance around in the sunshine. 

We were surprised not to see many fungi around the park, though this fallen tree trunk was host to a wonderful display(I'm not sure what species this is, feel free to identify it in the comments below!).

  We were disappointed not to see many birds until we reached this yew tree, which hosted about ten mistle thrushes, a selection of tits, a nuthatch and this goldcrest

The weather was unseasonably warm (I've recently heard that apparently weather forecasters aren't allowed to use the word hot in forecasts between September and March, which is ridiculous in these times of climate chaos and rising temperatures). Climate chaos concerns aside though, it was lovely to have another day of hot sunshine after such a wet summer.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

A Sunny Autumn Day in West Lothian

Crafty Green Boyfriend and I have a few days off so yesterday we joined his mother and brother for a socially distanced trip around some of West Lothian's sights. It was a lovely sunny day (too warm for the time of year, but the sun was most welcome after the very rainy summer we've had here). 

We started at the House of the Binns, a relatively short drive (in their car, all wearing masks) from Edinburgh. The beautiful old house is currently closed to the public 

But the grounds are open for people to walk around. There's plenty to see here, with many views dominated by the Binns Tower 

 The gardens of the house are famous for the peacocks but we only saw one 

There were plenty of peacock feathers around though and this seven spot ladybird seemed happy sitting on one of them

We then had lunch in the garden of the Rouken Glen garden centre before exploring the nearby allotments, which are a haven for wildlife. 


We saw several rabbits (including a young black bunny) though none allowed photos. There were lots of hoverflies around including this Footballer (Helophilus pendulus) on a oxeye daisy

The sunflowers were looking magnificent!

We then travellend along the Firth of Forth to Blackness Castle. 

The castle and grounds are closed except for people who have bought advanced tickets under current COVID regulations to enable social distancing but we were able to walk along the coast near the castle. We met this friendly robin on a sailing boat moored in the marina 

and round the corner we came across a wonderful stretch of coast that was just full of seabirds including sandwich terns, lapwings, greylag geese, shelducks, redshanks, dunlin and others. 

Monday, 14 September 2020

Along the Water of Leith

 Current relaxations of lockdown mean that I'm back to carrying out my weekly voluntary patrol of part of the Water of leith Walkway alongside Edinburgh's river. Crafty Green Boyfriend has a couple of days off work this week so he joined me. 

There are lots of fungi around at the moment, these porcelain mushrooms are particularly beautiful

This coral fungus was particularly widespread in one area of the walkway

It was lovely to see several hoverflies so late in the year, this Syrphus sp, along with a number of other individuals, seemed to be particularly enjoying the Michaelmas daisies

It was entertaining to see this grey heron on the roof of a building close to the river. 

and this grey squirrel also seemed happy to pose for a photo

It was also lovely to see that the ambitious mural painting in the Colinton Tunnel is now complete! It really is worth visiting the tunnel to admire the handiwork here, several local schools and groups have contributed to the overall work, which celebrates the work of Robert Louis Stevenson, who spent a lot of time in the Colinton area when he was growing up. 

Sunday, 13 September 2020

In Search of Otters

 Yesterday, Crafty Green Boyfriend and I went to Dunsapie Loch on Arthur's Seat, largely as we had heard an otter had been seen there recently. 

The otter normally lives around Duddingston Loch 

and must have scrambled up the hill to get to Dunsapie Loch. It may be a youngster checking out a potential new home.

We didn't see the otter, though it was lovely to see the family of mute swans 

When we walked back down the hill we heard the distinctive sound of a raven so we stopped to watch this pair, which look like an adult and juvenile 

A kestrel hovered nearby, while we were interested in the pretty pattern on this snail's shell

The hawthorn shrubs are covered in berries now 

It's certainly starting to feel like Autumn.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Scottish Climate Week

Scotland's Climate Week (14 - 20 September 2020) is an annual event to highlight climate chaos and how we can address it.

The event highlights that, together, we can end Scotland’s contribution to climate change. It encourages organisations to take action to tackle climate change, and share their stories.

Climate Week provides an important opportunity for organisations and communities to showcase and share ideas about how they're tackling climate change. Despite the restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, there’s still lots that can be done to take action and make a difference.

If you are interested in finding out how the organisations you work or volunteer with can become involved, check out the Climate Week Toolkit. This toolkit contains tips on how to market your ideas about reducing your organisation's environmental impact, how to engage employees and stakeholders and plenty of practical ideas for reducing your carbon footprint. 

Personally,  I don't feel the campaign is urgent enough on any level, but at least it gets people involved. 


In other news, I'm delighted to have a haiku included in the latest Haiku Dialogue from the Haiku Foundation!

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Latest Jewellery Projects

 I've made a couple of necklaces recently. The first I made after someone contacted me via my Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop, to say she liked one of my necklaces but could I make her one in black and silver, which I did, sharing progress with her every step of the way. This is the finished product

She then asked me to make a matching pair of earrings, again based on a design in my shop, which I did, again sharing progress with her every step of the way. 

I have to admit that I did have a slight concern that she might not actually buy these items after asking me to make them, but I needn't have worried, she ordered them immediately and left a lovely review in my Etsy shop once she'd bought them. 

I personally really like the black and silver colour scheme so I immediately made another necklace in that combination

and that one has already sold!