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Showing posts from July, 2018

Ragwort and friends

Our early morning walk is flanked with ragwort,  Jacobaea vulgaris and handsome stands of the lovely rosebay willow herb .   The curse of farmers, because it is so poisonous to animals, particularly horses, ragwort is one of our top ten pollinators, so, hooray for ragwort!   It is beloved of the cinnabar moth caterpillar.  Last year I saw a single yellow and black stripy caterpillar, but this year I am pleased to say there are masses.  And they are making short work of the ragwort plants, which is precisely why they were introduced into the country, in order to control the plant!   The good news is that the caterpillars will eventually morph into one of these beauties!

Goose bumps!

With a mystified audience of extremely woolly sheep, spectators started to gather for the annual thrill in the skies above East Lothian.  The red blood moon last night was no competition for today's event.  In any case, the moon was a non-event for us because of cloud cover yesterday.  Typical, after so many clear summer nights over the past few weeks! As one o'clock approached, more and more people parked along the country lane, which has spectacular views of the airshow at East Fortune, and across the valley to the Lammermuir Hills.  While we waited a rainstorm of impressive proportions moved towards us from the south east.  Luckily, the torrential rain had cleared through by the time the main event came roaring in from the west.  The Red Arrows.  They never fail to give me goose bumps!   They roared and swooped around the skies, thrilling us all with their precision and skill, but away to the south east another belt of heavy rain appeared and was he

Hottest day of the year!

The car said it was 29 degrees here today.  Not bad going for the east coast of Scotland!   We've just had a fleeting shower of pint sized drops of rain, lasting about 45 seconds, which has released the most wonderful summery smells from the prairie grasses on the other side of our fence.   Red gold sunlight, a beautiful end to a beautiful summer's day.

Tragopogon pratensis

Goat's-beard to you and me.  Or Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon, because this small elusive flower, which is a member of the daisy family, only flowers in the morning and closes up at lunchtime, allowing the plant to merge back into the undergrowth!  No wonder it is so tricky to see.  I find the plant completely bewitching.  Its seed heads, which are huge in comparison to its rather insignificant flower, grab my attention every time I walk past them.  I think they are really beautiful.

Half an hour ago

One of the many bonuses of long sunny days, lovely sunsets.     In the distance you can just see the Queensferry Crossing and Forth Road and Rail bridges. I wish these photos could show how luminous the water is!  

The best kind of green

July means plant survey time in Aberlady Bay for me!  A weekly opportunity to spend the morning messing around amongst a significant percentage of the 600 odd species of wild flowers, grasses, mosses, reeds and sedges in this lovely nature reserve (the first in Britain when designated in 1952).  Some of the information we have to record is a bit too scientific for me, I just go along to help identify plants, and hazard a guess at the technical stuff!  It's a joy and a privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to this on-going grassland survey which is being carried out by East Lothian Council.   Some of the lovely things we saw on Saturday, a cinnabar moth on tufted vedge, meadow vetchling amongst the red and white clovers viper's bugloss, which is a magnet for bees and butterflies Grass of Parnassus and the tiny white stars of marsh bedstraw. I was really pleased when the dark green fritillary butterfly stopped long enough, on a red clover, for m