crow in flight

Fauna Findings 1 in Scotland – Birds on the Shore

Like this solitary crow, I enjoy my solitary walks, but this is far from the only species of fauna I found when in Scotland last month. I approached it quietly to try and get a closer shot but was spotted, naturally, and it it took to the air, flying across the bay to meet its partner.

I've been spotted

There is a quiet bay, an old disused harbour, along the shore from us where the gulls and oystercatchers – and on this occasion, swans – gather and sit quietly on the water or by its edge andContinue reading

on the top of rocks

Floral Findings 3 – Growing on the Edge

I’m not sure that I can truthfully say that this clump of thrift, on the edge of rocks looking out over the sea, is actually growing. The year has been so dry and they are clearly past their colourful flowering stage . . . but still I find them very attractive!

on the edge

The shoreline has as much to enjoy by way of plants as the coast has just a few yards inland. The fact that they all have a slightly different annual cycle to their growth patterns makes them that much more interesting.Continue reading

golden yellow

Floral Findings 2 – Golden Yellow at Cally

A visit to Cally Gardens near Gatehouse of Fleet is always a must for us when in Scotland. We were concerned for it last year after the owner, Michael Wickenden, died whilst flower hunting in Myanmar, but the place has been taken over by a like minded person who knew Michael and is developing the place in keeping with his philosophy.

Cally Gardens

It is probably the golden yellow flower that is most striking in these photos but I particularly like the fall of light and shade in the image above as well.

I cannot name the few plants I have picked out below but they are certainly different to the wildflowers of Britain presented in my previous post. For me, I do not need to know the names of plants orContinue reading

vetch

Floral Findings 1 in South West Scotland

This week I though I would bring you just a snippet of my floral findings while we were away in South West Scotland. Mostly they are common wildflowers but there was one where the location must remain hidden!

Pyramidal Orchid

The Pyramidal Orchid above was kindly pointed out to me by a fellow walker I met along my route. I might easily have taken it for clover as there was plenty of that about – Continue reading

Fleet Bay

Calm Reflection – Gull Contemplation

A calm, hazy, hot day and the stone buoys that mark the entrance to a small disused harbour reflect in the water and a gull appears in contemplation of its quiet surroundings.

stone buoy 1

Like the gull, I too sit in contemplation of the scene and objects around me – stopping from time to time on all my walks to look and listen and absorb the sights and sounds, the textures, patterns and colours of the environment and feel the connections I have to all that is there.

Whether the connection is slow and seemingly timeless, as in the wrinkles and folds seen in the surfaces of rocks, or quicker, like the more immediate ripples of the water blown by the breeze, pushed and pulled by the sun and moon along with Earth itself (see Tides), the influence on me of these interconnections is sometimes obvious and noticeable, sometimes utterly imperceptible, but there nonetheless.

Imperceptible or not, I am aware that they exist and enjoy contemplating, or perhaps imagining, the ties that hold me (rather than bind me) to the intricacies of the planet and all that exists and lives upon it.

Contemplating Quiet

rusty ring perspective

Iron Standings and Rusty Rings

Iron standings, rusty rings and other objects – these are from a short stretch of the Scottish shoreline which I was walking along last month and which includes two old, small harbour jetties.

iron standings

The colours and textures of rust are always attractive to me and in this location they also reflect the colours and textures of the surrounding rocks and lichens.

So far as I can tell these small ports are not used any more, althoughContinue reading

red shattered rock

Coastal Curiosities 1 – Arranged and Sculpted Naturally

This week I am focusing on some of the coastal curiosities I found along my walks in Scotland last month. The wind and sea had been sculpting, as they naturally do, but people were also evident in the arrangements they left behind in the form of what appeared to me like a miniature straggling sea defence. A sea defence that was set higher on the beach than the highest tide level, at least for a few days, thus ensuring they would stay there for a while and allow me to photograph them in different lights.

miniature defences

The low sun in the evening also sculpted the appearance of the beach into a Martian landscape and the my daughter pointed me towards the Martian colours revealed in a rock formation split by erosion. This revealed a measure of timeContinue reading

ripples

Scottish Seas 3 – The Subtleties of Surface

The surface of the sea is constantly changing – colour, pattern, texture – it all depends, from moment to moment, on the changing conditions of light, wind, currents and the pull of the sun and moon.

surface colour

However rough or calm the sea is, the changing patterns on the surface of the water can hold my attention for a long time. The longer I look, the more subtleties I see and although there is an overall rhythm to the motion, that too changes gradually as the tide gently rises and falls against the rocks and seaweed – see the video below.

The longer you sit quietly, the less you are noticed byContinue reading

sea and light perspective

Scottish Seas 2 – Evening Tide

Whether it is the ebb or the flow of the tide, the sea has a gentle gradient to cover in this part of South West Scotland. That does not always mean the waves are gentle but on this occasion the roughest it got can be seen in the third image of the sequence below.

evening ebb

The appearance of the weather in that image is exaggerated by the heavy grain effect I gave it. I like the effect but it tells a lie about the conditions, making them appear less favourable than they wereContinue reading

bumpy surface

Scottish Seas 1 – All Quiet on the South West Coast

From Scottish skies last week to Scottish seas this week and all is still and quiet – the gentle ripples on surface and sand reflect the warm breeze of an unusually warm Summer.

tidal ripple

No drama in the form of storms and crashing waves, just the peaceful lap of the gentlest of tides and the hot hazy light that so often disguised the horizon and prompted me, on occasion, to play with focus.Continue reading