21 September 2011

Heather for Heather

I recently got back in touch with a friend's daughter called Heather, who was born in Scotland but has lived in the US all her life and never returned here since she was a baby. So here are some pictures of heather for Heather.

At this time of the year, many parts of Scotland turn pink with the flowering heather (Calluna vulgaris). I took this picture earlier in September when we were on the Isle of Eigg. That's the Sgurr in the background.

Calluna vulgaris, Heather, or Ling, is the commonest species.

In the picture below it is mixed with the darker flowers of another common species - Bell Heather (Erica cinerea).

A third species found very commonly, though perhaps not in quite such large quantities, is Cross-leaved Heath (Erica tetralix). The two flowers on the right in the picture below are Cross-leaved Heath, while the flower on the left is Bell Heather.

The ordinary Heather, or Ling, also comes in a great many colour variants. The two plants in the picture below are the same species.

Occasionally you can find "lucky" white heather.

All these photos were taken on the Isle of Eigg during this September.

20 September 2011

Eigg birds

While we were on Eigg, we had several close encounters with birds.

On a walk through the moorland in the centre of the island, several red grouse leaped out from almost under my feet. Unusually, they didn't fly off making their "go-back, go-back" alarm call, but just walked out of my way. That gave me the opportunity to take a couple of photos before they flew off.

A few days later, we visited a friend who lives in the north of the island. She put out some corn for the birds, and a group of rock doves flew down to feed.

These are the wild birds from which domesticated pigeons were bred. The two have interbred, and pure wild birds are now only found on the west and north coasts of Scotland and Ireland.

The wild version has two black wingbars and a white rump which mostly only shows when the bird is in flight.

Hooded crows frequently visited the garden of the house where we were staying. These are a subspecies of the carrion crow, and they replace the carrion crow in the north and west of Scotland.

18 September 2011

Easter Eigg - in September?

Somehow, whenever I have a lot to post, I don't have the time to do it. I now have a huge backlog of pictures taken, places visited, things seen, from the summer, and will try to post some of them over the next few days.

To start with, some pictures from the Isle of Eigg.

A very out-of-season primrose, taken on 5th September.

Ten days later these flowers had been eaten, but the plant had produced another flower and bud.

Although garden primroses quite commonly flower out of season, the wild ones are less inclined to do so and mostly flower in March to May. Other out-of-season ones I've seen have been December (Eigg, 2005) and 18th August (Skye, 2008).

And how about an Easter bunny?