Particularly abundant on felled woodland areas, rocky waste ground, and often where you don't want them.

Common foxglove - Lus nam ban-sìth - Digitalis purpurea

They are a biennial, producing downie leaves only in the 1st year and the easily recognisable flowers in the 2nd year. Grows up to 235cm.

The Gaelic common name suggests they are for the women fairyfolk rather than gloves for foxes.

As promised, the fruit of:

Wild Strawberry - Tlachd-shùbh - Fragaria vesca

As you can see from the second photo "someone" has been nibbling the ripe fruit already.

The wild fruit are about ⅓ the size of commercially grown strawberries.

My post showing the Wild Strawberry flowers:

mstdn.io/@fitheach/10209403870

I made a joke about Fox Hunt previously, but I note that Jeremy is now talking about allowing another vote on hunting in England.

Whenever you hear a politician talk about allowing another vote it is usually coded language for: I want to reverse a decision.

Killing animals for entertainment isn't a problem if it gets a few votes for Jeremy.

My second gallery is now online:

fitheach.co.uk/galleries/wildf

It includes most of the flowers I photographed in the first half of 2019.

The third gallery is 50% complete, it'll be coming soon.

<<<

The beetle hovered in mid-air about a metre from the bathroom window. Like a miniature helicopter it held its position, swivelling left and right. Could it be enjoying this new sensation?

All this happened within the space of a few seconds. I felt I shared something with this beetle.

Just at that moment a Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava) swooped past, grabbed the beetle in mid-air, and flew off.

Goodbye, friend.

Nature, red in tooth and claw (2)

I was having my ablutions in the bathroom & was gazing outside, in an absent-minded fashion, when my eye caught a beetle on the slates.

It walked about for a while, warming itself in the early sunshine. After a while it raised its wing cases & the wings came out. The wings flapped, but without the beetle taking off. Could it be preparations for a first flight? Possibly.

While flapping it walked about on the slates. Suddenly it took off.

>>>

Nature, red in tooth and claw (1)

I've seen very few dragonflies this year. Yesterday, the sun was out and I saw dozens of dragonflies.

Usually when I approach dragonflies they buzz off. This one had just caught prey (some sort of bee) in mid-flight and had settled to devour it. I got a few photographs.

Golden-ringed dragonfly - Cordulegaster boltonii

Magnificent creature. About 8cm long. Female.

A very distinctive , nothing else quite like it (in )

Greater stitchwort - Tursarain-mhòr - Stellaria holostea

What looks like two petals is in fact one petal with a very deep incision. In consequence the petals are very delicate. You can see one petal is broken in half in photo 1. That photo also shows two blooms about to open, and several buds.

Each flower has a total of 5 petals.

I promised a photo of this flower ages ago, but we've been subject to howlin' gales and lashin' rain ever since.

Grannie's bonnet - Lus a' chalmain - Aquilegia vulgaris

This is a , whereas my previous photo was (99% certain) a cultivar:

mstdn.io/@fitheach/10216145123

Quite different, aren't they? They don't even look like the same species.

Another really common wildflower in the .

Wood cranesbill - Crobh-preachain coille - Geranium sylvaticum

Seeing it so frequently probably leads to people ignoring it, which is a shame. It has delicate petals with lovely gradations in colour.

As the botanical name makes clear it is part of the Geranium family. Likes shaded areas in woods. The cranesbill is a useful source of pigment to dye clothing.

That was fast.

Tonight, I returned to the same that I did 3 weeks ago when I first photographed the Broom. I was amazed to see all the flowers were gone and in their place were hundreds of seed pods.

Isn't nature amazing?

I was delighted to find a clump of these flowers near to the house.

Bugle - Glasair Choille - Ajuga reptans

Bugles are part of the Lamiaceae family, commonly known as Mint. That the Bugles are growing together isn't a surprise, as they spread using ground level runners. Unusually the leaves & stems on these Bugles are nearly hairless.

This one is a bit of a cheat.

Bog cotton - Caoin-cheann - Eriophorum angustifolium

The flowers of bog cotton are dull red-brown colour, and it is the resultant seed heads that are visually stunning. So, not a wildflower in the strict sense.

These are very common in peat bog areas, and we have plenty of those in the . Photo was taken at the end of May.

Squirrel update

For the previous four days the squirrel came to the peanut feeder at *exactly* 08:00. On day five I confidently predict to my OH that the squirrel will be there at 08:00.

So, what happens? Of course, the squirrel doesn't arrive until 08:45. Just goes to show you can't rely on a squirrel. BTW I've never seen a squirrel with a watch.

These photos were taken two weeks ago at the height of the blooms. However, they retain their blooms for a long period, and some are flowering only now.

Common Broom - Bealaidh-coitcheann - Cytisus scoparius

In N. America they are known as Scot's/Scotch Broom. There they are an invasive species that outperforms many native plants.

They do provide some stunning colour to the landscape, and have a very distinctive, yet appealing aroma. I like them.

I had a fantastic morning.

Great weather for the . Lots of flora & fauna; enough photos to fill the remainder of June with posts. All that in the company of my best friend (he had a good time, too).

Photos:
Tadpoles are almost certainly frogs, but can't be 100% certain.
Common Toad - Smàgach - Bufo bufo

Yeesssss!
The squirrels are back.

In truth the squirrels never went away, but for some reason they never came to our peanut feeder. At long last, this morning, they have re-discovered the peanut feeder.

Red squirrel - Feòrag-ruadh - Sciurus vulgaris

Something is wrong, very wrong.

The saying goes: "one swallow doesn't make a summer". Well, if that is true we're not having a summer at all.

We usually have lots of swallows and house martins around the house. This year we have none. On my travels around the area I'm not seeing many of these birds in their typical haunts.

I fear something catastrophic has happened to the populations of these birds this year.

I note that the Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh are now annotating their plants with the English common name, Gaelic common name and the botanical name.

I wonder where they got that idea from? 😃

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