Category Archives: Wildlife

Gnothe sauton

It’s been a while since we had a dictionary delve, occasioned today by my idly wondering if “global pandemic” is tautology?

The dictionary in question was therefore temporarily relieved of its 21st century function as the prop for the iPad when Zooming, and duly interrogated.

We know that tautology itself* comes from tauto, the same, and legein, to speak – or logos, the word? As for pandemic, that in turn comes from pan – all and demos, people. So, it’s fairly safe to assume** that global means much of the same. It might be more correct to speak of a global epidemic, (epi, among) but right now pandemic seems to be the one that has caught the zeitgeist.

What a cheery subject. And it’s all empirical.

Broken shell, St. David’s Harbour, June 2021

*couldn’t resist

**it’s rarely safe to assume.

Abu Dhabi

As the estate agents never tire of telling us, one of the many grand things about Fife is its coastline.  We have several beautiful beaches within easy reach of our home, a fact which has made the last 9 months just that bit more bearable.  In anticipation of yesterday’s Level 4 announcement we tootled off to Aberdour, for a chilly, bracing march along the sands and back.  The light changes constantly, which will be news to no-one, but it continues to fascinate.

Other than that, chef made his own pasta and we won the Saturday Quiz.  And one of my chums typed Aviemore as Aviemoron on FB, that made me laugh more than it should have.

Edinburgh sur Mer

Moon

Silver Sands looking east

Grey

Plantastic

For anyone with an interest in plants, art or indeed both, below is a link to the degree show at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.  They offer training in botanical drawing, a uniquely special method of documenting the life story of a plant.  I have long been in awe of this, and its practitioners.  There is a short film at the bottom of the page, and with all that’s continuing to happen in the world I can think of worse ways to spend 9 minutes, while waiting for the solstice and the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.

Thanks to Fife Contemporary for the nod.

Whilst we’re on the subject of links, it will come as no surprise to anyone if I point you, gently, in the  direction of the Christmas shows on line from the Lyceum theatre.  Well, who knew, Karine Polwart has made one…..

 

 

 

 

Against the Dying of the Light

So it rumbles on. Mid November, return to lockdown for some areas here,  and all over the world.  Tantalising glimpses of vaccines, stories of very bad behaviour in the corridors of power, and meanwhile the winter avian visitors have arrived.

Fieldfare, Auchteralyth

Wild geese, Perthshire

Swamp,. Loch of Kinnordy

Autumn colours

Goosanders, Townhill Loch

Last of autumn colours

Mine of information

Tiny frog

Loch Ore on Sunday, this superb local amenity features a circular walk through a variety of ecosystems, including a beach, reed beds, meadow, fields of geese and woodlands.  Built on the land reclaimed from coal mining, it’s used for water sports and is the meeting place for the Newfoundland dog group.  Wee frog here the size of a thumbnail.  The children’s playpark acknowledges the industrial heritage.

Mute swans, pen and cob with cygnets

Loch Ore

Channel from the lochan

Notes from my perch

Occasionally my wanderings on the internet surprise even me.  Today I found out that James Dick, a successful business man who was born in Kilmarnock and moved to Glasgow, developed the school gym shoe known by various names over the UK.  He and his brother had experimented with using Gutta-percha to cover the soles of existing shoes.  This extremely useful form of latex, brought over from Malaysia, was responsible for the central Scotland name of gutties, or plimsolls if you were being posh.  I know that when Elspeth went to teach in Gloucestershire, she found out that they were called daps.  My research suggests that the shoes were developed by several manufacturers but our man became a wealthy philanthropist, while an institute in his home town bears his brother’s name.

From Wikipedia:-

The word gutta-percha comes from the plant’s name in Malay: getah translates as ‘latex‘. Percha or perca is an older name for Sumatra.

In other news, the magnificent Elbow continue to release a new live track every Friday at 12 noon, this week it’s Lippy Kids with the backing proved by alumni of Manchester’s Halle Youth Chorus.  The Halle Orchestra is the band’s first choice for string accompaniment etc.  Rosemary recalls going to their concerts when she lived in Longton.

Elbow’s frontman and lyricist Guy Garvey is amongst other things a keen ornithologist, and he would doubtless be the first to spot the link here, which is in Passerines, or perching birds.  Although the birds referred to in Lippy Kids are crows, I feel sure that sparrows are just at the edge of the picture here.

The terms “passerine” and “Passeriformes” are derived from the scientific name of the house sparrow, Passer domesticus, and ultimately from the  Latin passer, which refers to sparrows and similar small birds.

….and if you think all that is convoluted, wait until you hear about last night’s dreams.  Here’s a nice osprey  to make everything better.

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/osprey-cam/

Lastly, welcome to the family Leo Thomson, a wee brother for Ellie.

 

 

 

December birds

In the interest of sharing musical gems, absolutely no apologies for reposting this.

Anent nothing, walked past 60+ curlew feeding on the local football pitches, alongside oyster catchers, lesser black backed gulls, wood pigeons and carrion crows.

20th anniversary of the folk club tomorrow.  Looking forward to it.

Wide awake

It seemed like a good idea to go to  England on the day of the Rugby World Cup Final, so we found ourselves in Wakefield, after a stress free train trip with added random acts of kindness.

Our stay was in the hotel in Holmfield Park.  We’ll need to go back to see the rhubarb sculpture, which I would have sought out had I known about it.  The grounds were well stocked with mature trees which put on a stunning autumnal display, augmented by the fireworks display at night which we also did not see, but certainly heard.

On the Sunday we managed to get ourselves and luggage to the Hepworth Museum.  This houses a permanent display of the works of Dame Barbara Hepworth, sculptor and native of the town.  The building, designed by architect David Chipperfield,* sits astride the river Calder, and the full length windows in the building give excellent vistas of the river,  in particular the weir.    It also houses exhibitions, currently on show are works of the young David Hockney and Alan Davie.  It opened in 2011 and it’s free  to visit, has storage lockers and a decent café.

Trip home was also on time, and smooth. Thanks to Tickety Split and a rail card bought with Tesco points, we saved over 50% of the original cost.

*cracking pictures if you follow the arrow on this link.

Life size maquette for work commissioned by John Lewis (Head office)

River Calder weir

Grounds of Holmfield house

Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Autumn 3

Mulling it over

two White Tailed Sea Eagles in a river on the Isle of Mull
White Tailed Sea Eagles, Mull

MV Coruisk at Craignure

Grass Point pier, Mull
Grass Point pier, Mull

Sheila’s cottage, Isle of Ulva

View of the Isle of Staffa on approach
Staffa approach

Sunset at Treshnish

Beauly Firth from Lentran chalet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A random selection from our trip north,  through stupendously beautiful areas of Scotland.  Car did us well over the longest hauls in particular,  like Pitlochry to Kingussie, and a singularly frustrating tour of the car parks in Fort Bill.  Thanks to the EV community who put meaningful updates on the ZapMap and a shout out to the men we met who are happily touring the west coast to install more chargers.  They also inadvertently told us where to buy a decent breakfast roll in Craignure.  Grudging thanks to CYC Scotland who at least confirmed that the charger at Kilchoan was hors de combat.   More to be uploaded once I figure out how to release the phone pictures from Google photos to the PC.

 

Play well

The word “lego” is derived from the Danish words “leg godt”, meaning “play well”.  Really enjoyed seeing these Lego sculptures at Edinburgh Zoo, on a rather close and muggy summer’s day.

All the models were of sea creatures, which brought this tune to mind.  Stick with it for the chorus harmonies.

Eye of Squid

Ray