I went for a walk immediately after work, this morning. I came across this rather lovely orchid:
Common Spotted Orchid
They are very common in the Highlands, but this rich colour variety is rarer. A nice shape, too.
The other flower I found was:
These are fairly common in most parts of Scotland, but not where I live. This variety seemed to be particularly suited to the rocky foreshore, in the area above the maximum tide. Even so, they must be quite salt tolerant. Most marigolds I see have five petals, these all had six. Marigolds belong to the Buttercup family.
I did see a couple of flowers that were seaside specific. The first one I found was:
This flower is sometimes called Sea Pink, for rather obvious reasons.
It must be a hardy plant that can survive without many nutrients, as I typically found them growing on nearly bare rock. The flowers have five pink petals, and five stamens, ending in prominent yellow anthers.
The grassy parts were extremely rich in wildflowers. This may have been due to a nutrient rich soil. The plants, and flowers, even seemed to survive grazing by the sheep.
I was surprised to find that the flowers were mostly the same ones I knew from home. I had expected more seaside specific plants.
Common Spotted Orchid
These orchids are common just about anywhere.
There were many more wildflowers along the canal banks, because the grass hasn't been cut for weeks (possibly not at all, this year). This is due to the coronavirus Lockdown. See, every cloud has a silver lining. Consequently, I saw, and heard, many happy bumblebees to-day.
I actually think the verges look nicer, too. They are more natural, rather than manicured.
There were also lots of Bugles
Bugle - Glasair Choille - Ajuga reptans
Interestingly, the Bugles all had a different shape from the ones in my garden. I don't know if this was due to different growing conditions or that they were a different variety. These flowers are one of my favourites.
A wee Germander Speedwell
(Nuallach - Veronica chamaedrys) also sneaked into the photo.
I had to work to-day, until 1400. So, I went for a walk by the canal, which is on my way home. I didn't want to waste a second of a gorgeous day by going home to get changed.
It was great to feel the wind in my hair, and the sun on my face. Oh, and I got to play with my new lens. 😃
Wild Hyacinth - Fuath-mhuc - Hyacinthoides non-scripta
It is towards the end of the season for Hyacinths, but they still provide a splash of colour.
The weather forecast indicated fine, sunny conditions, but only for a few hours in the morning. I was out of the door by 0600. I was really glad I did, as it was gorgeous.
The photo shows a large Rowan tree in the foreground.
Rowan - Caorann - Sorbus aucuparia
Rowans are always one of the last to come out in leaf. On this particular tree the leaves haven't completely unfurled, yet.
Some critters found to-day's weather to be too hot and dry. Amphibians must keep their skin moist at all times. This European Common Frog (Losgann Buidhe - Rana Temporaria) took a dip in the river to avoid drying out in the warm sunshine. There were a few flies around the margins of the river, so there might have been a tasty snack available, too.
Compared to two weeks ago the Larches are now looking vividly green, especially with the darker Sitka Spruce in the background. I can never walk past a Larch without having a wee feel. At this time of year they are so soft to the touch. The Larch needles take a few weeks to dry out, and become prickly just like most conifers.
A flower I've not had a chance to photograph before to-day:
Lesser Celadine - Searraich - Ficaria verna
It was inhabiting the boggy areas of the riverbank. The flowers have a diameter of between 10mm and 20mm. Most had 8 petals. Some of the plants, like the one in the photo, were by themselves, others were growing in big groups.
The first wildflower I came across was a Wood Anemone - Lus na gaoithe - Anemone nemorosa. I have photographed them before, many times.
In fact, I posted about anemones almost exactly one year ago. Even the weather was the same:
I started my walk along the riverbank. I was really glad I did, because not only was it picturesque by the river, but I also found some wildflowers I have never photographed.
There were a pair of Water Ousels on the river. I wasn't able to photograph them as they were darting about too quickly. Maybe next time.
A few years ago the old sheep fence was renewed at the top of the hill. The fence marks the boundary between two estates.
To-day was the first time I had walked along the fence line since it was renewed. I was disgusted, and angry, to discover most of the old fence had been discarded in situ. Worst of all, I found a dozen sections with 20cm nails protruding upwards. A severe danger to animals and humans. I did what I could to nullify the danger.
There was more snow on the higher mountains to the south.
It was hard work climbing up to the top of the hill. It was equally hard work going down again. Your legs are constantly holding yourself back from careering downhill. Several days of dry weather have also made the hillsides hard, dry and, consequently, slippy.
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