Tuesday 9 July 2024

In the Flower Meadows

 As long term readers of this blog will know, I regularly go out along Edinburgh's Water of Leith collecting litter and recording the wildlife I see as a volunteer for the Water of Leith Conservation Trust. Today I managed to get out and back before the rain started. The wildflower meadows along the river walkway are beautiful at this time of year. One of the meadows is more or less entirely natural, though managed to prevent invasive species from encroaching. At this time of year this meadow is full of flowers, mostly buttercups and Common Spotted Orchids

I'll zoom in so you get a better view of the orchids 

The meadow is very marshy, so I don't walk in there to get closer to the flowers, also it's nice to feel there are areas where nature can just get on with its own thing without people barging in, even if it is with the benign intention of taking photos. There are Roe Deer in this area and some years the mother deer will leave their fawns in this meadow, while the mother goes to feed somewhere else. 

The other meadow that is looking particularly lovely at the moment has been managed and sown with wildflower seeds in ground near to the old Bogs Mill. 

This meadow contains a wide variety of species, including Cowslips and Meadowsweet. At this time of year, my favourite is the Meadow Cranesbill 

While I was taking the photo above, I heard a noisy bird flying around. I looked up to see a Jay, then was astonished as over the next ten minutes four or even five Jays flew around in the trees by the meadow. Jays are not uncommon, but I've found them to be incredibly elusive and have had very few close sightings of them and have never seen a group together like this. No photos, unfortunately, as they were moving around too much and hiding in the leaves of the trees.

Monday 8 July 2024

Butterfly Survey at Lauriston Farm

 This summer, I'm continuing to regularly survey butterflies at Lauriston Farm, the site of Edinburgh's Agro-ecology project and this year also at Corstorphine Hill. 

Today I surveyed at Lauriston Farm, where the generally sunny weather ensured clear views all around, to the Firth of Forth, Cramond Island and the coast of Fife to the north 

Lauriston Castle to the south (behind the trees in the castle grounds in the photo below)

and the Muirhouse housing scheme to the west (one of the tower blocks is visible behind the trees in the photo below)

I didn't see many butterflies, unfortunately, which seems to be normal for this year. I did see several Ringlets, which didn't stop for their photos, this photo is from a previous sighting. 

If you're in the UK and love butterflies, please consider taking part in the Big Butterfly Count, which takes place from 12 July to 4 August. This UK-wide survey aims to help assess the health of our environment simply by counting the number and type of butterflies (and some day-flying moths) that we see.


A week on Wednesday, I'll be posting a more in depth post about the butterfly survey on my new Crafty Green Poet Substack blog (this Wednesday's post will be about the environmental implications of the recent UK General Election).

Sunday 7 July 2024

Ladybirds in Saughton Park

 We had a lovely walk round Saughton Park yesterday. 

We were pleased to see these Two-Spot Ladybirds ensuring the next generation 

It was also reassuring to see that they had good supplies of food, lots of black aphids!

Thursday 4 July 2024

Have you Voted Yet?

 If you're in the UK, you will know that today is polling day for the General Election. 

Remember to vote, and remember that you need photo ID to vote. You can find out what type of photo ID is acceptable here.

Tuesday 2 July 2024

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman


The fact that this review is written in the style of the novel, more or less, the novel being almost 1000 pages long with no full stops except in the interludes, the fact that nonetheless, it is very readable, engrossing, even in parts, very funny, the fact that the narrator spends much of the novel in her kitchen making pies, cherry pies, apple pies, but never lemon meringue pies, while worrying about climate change, gun control, the mountain lion travelling around the area, her family, particularly her rebellious eco-activist daughter Stacy, but perhaps Stacy is less of a problem than the narrator thinks, perhaps she, Stacy, not the narrator, will in fact prove to be a heroine, heroin, illegal drugs, school shootings, the strange guy who delivers the chicken feed, who perhaps people should pay more attention to, perhaps they should be worried about him, more than about the mountain lion, lioness, the fact that the interludes in the novel, which unlike the rest of the book, do have full stops, are about the mountain lioness and her travels, looking for her cubs, the fact that nothing much happens in this novel, the fact that this, combined with the very length, almost 1000 pages, might put some people off reading this stream of conscious novel, the fact that many people dismiss this as a prank book, fake experimental literature, fake news, Trumpism, stream of consciousness, the fact that no-one really thinks in this style, the fact that maybe some people do think like this, the fact that at least give it a try and start off reading it, and maybe, perhaps, you might enjoy it

Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman published (2019) by Galley Beggar Press.