Thursday, 30 June 2016

Corstorphine HIll

I joined Crafty Green Boyfriend for a lunchtime wander round Corstorphine Hill today. There was plenty to see today!

We found a species of hoverfly new to both of us, the UK Hoverfly group on Facebook were able to identify it as a Myathropa florea. (Thanks Crafty Green Boyfriend for this photo).


This area of the hill below was full of whitethroats (Neither of us have ever seen that many whitethroats together!)! You can't see them in this photo but they were flying round from shrub to shrub,we both think that the youngsters were fledging 


Nearby we saw this stone


All the broken snail shells on and around the stone indicate that this is a song thrush anvil, where the bird will smash snails before eating their bodies.

Back on the main road the bunnies were outside the hotel as they usually are


while across the road:

abandoned house -
swallows fly in and out
of the windows.


What now for the UKs environment post Brexit?

So the UK voted to leave the European Union. I have blogged before about how vital the EU legislation has been in terms of protecting nature and the environment and it is well known that many politicians who campaigned for us to leave the EU are not in favour of these laws, describing them as 'so much red tape'.

The EU is not perfect, nor indeed are its environmental laws, but these laws, as I say have made a difference to the state of our beaches, waterways and nature in general. The outlook for nature in this country could be dire if we discard these laws without enshrining them into UK law.

There are already many articles which explain the potential impact of us leaving the EU on our nature protection, here are some that I feel are particularly informative and concise:

UK's out vote is a 'red alert' for the environment (Guardian newspaper)

What Leaving the EU means for our environment (Scottish Wildlife Trust).

What does Brexit mean for the UK's environment? (Political Studies Association Environmental Politics)


EU departure means a tough fight to protect our environment ( Friends of the Earth Scotland)

Letter from Conservation leaders to Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform in Scottish Parliament


I think this article from Ruth Davis highlights well the need to be positive. When the EU held a consultation on the fitness of purpose of the Nature Directives, millions of people across Europe demonstrated their support, with much of that support coming from people in the UK. The UK nature conservation organisations have huge numbers of members (more members than political parties). We are a country that loves nature and we will not stand at the sidelines and watch as a right wing government dismantles the laws that protect our nature, landscapes and environment. Having said that it won't be easy, we have a battle on our hands and we know from the recent referendum campaign just how sneaky our politicians can be.

Conservation organisations will be campaigning to make sure the best of the EU nature legislation is enshrined in UK law. It's early days yet and I haven't seen any detailed plans, but you can sign up here for the Friends of the Earth campaign. You can also send a message to all the political leaders in Scotland to ask them to put the environment at the heart of their thinking and actions around Scotland’s future (via Friends of the Earth Scotland).

If you've been taking part in 30 Days Wild you have probably found yourself enthused about nature more than ever as a result. If you love nature you will want to make sure we can protect it as much as possible for the future. 

Campaigning for 30 Days Wild.


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

colourful insects for 30Days Wild

I was happy to find these colourful insects today along the John Muir Walkway in Musselburgh

These are (I think) green nettle weevils

and this is a Xyphosia miliaria 

This species is common across the UK, according to Nature Spot, but according to Crafty Green Boyfriend (who knows these things) it has very rarely been recorded in Edinburgh and the surrounding Lothians. Yet very recently someone else added a photo of this species to the Edinburgh Wildlife Group on Flickr. So the moral of the story is, record your wildlife sightings! I'll be sending these sightings (and others) from today to the Wildlife Information Centre for Edinburgh and the Lothians. They then use people's observations of wildlife towards informing conservation work and preventing inappropriate development on areas that are important for wildlife.

I was also impressed with these fungi, though I'm not sure what species they are - any ideas?


Also lovely to see the mute swans coming in on the tide

and these male eiders in their eclipse plumage, so they don't look like their usual selves and they don't look all the same either!

for 30 Days Wild.




Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Monday, 27 June 2016

Orchids for 30 Days Wild

Lovely to see the common spotted orchids in full bloom in the grassy areas alongside the Water of Leith today.

The orchid field (unsurprisingly) is full of orchids, though they are difficult to see in this photo


the very marshy ground makes it difficult to get close to individual blooms but I did get these two photos (the orchids are the spikes of pinkish flowers, surrounded in both photos by buttercups

Then I was very happy to see this common spotted orchid in the meadow near Redhall Gardens, where I've never seen the orchids before (though of course they could have been hiding in the grasses over the past few years)

For 30 Days Wild and Nature Notes.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Nature events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival

I put together this list of nature-related events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival for Living Edinburgh. These events all still had tickets available at the time of writing (I've not necessarily used the titles for the events as given in the brochure, but if you click on the links below you'll be taken straight to the appropriate booking page on the book festival website):

10.30, Tuesday 16 August Scottish Arcadias with Philip Hoare, Magnus Linklater and Alison Turnbull.

1845, Tuesday 16 August Tracey Chevalier talks about At the Edge of the Orchard.

1145, Friday 19 August poetry from Alice Oswald.

11.00 Saturday 20 August, Reading workshop Robert Hunter on The Jungle Book

2045, Monday 22 August Nature writing with Jim Crumley and Stephen Moss.

1600, Wednesday 24 August Opening up our House with Tobias Jones.

2045, Thursday 25 August Tracking down Birds of Prey with James MacDonald Lockart.

1015, Friday 26 Nature Writing with Melissa Harrison and Amy Liptrot.

1730. Saturday 27 August, Lost heroes of Science with Steve Jones and Andrea Wulf.

1845, Monday 29 August Surviving the Vast Forest with Ray Mears.


Nature themed book events for Children 
(I've included all types of animals here, including pets, imaginary species and human type characters in the guise of animals)


1145, Sunday 14 August  Unconventional Animal Friendships with Ed Vere (age 3-6).

1330, Sunday  14 August, animal illustrations with Barroux (age 3-6).

1545, Sunday 14 August, Danger with Chris Judge and David O'Doherty. (age 7-10)

1000, Monday 15 August Unconventional Animal friendships with Ed Vere. (age 3-6).

1030, Monday 15 August Illustration with Barroux, Chris Houghton and Emer Stamp (age 10+).

1145, Monday 15 August Hercufleas with Sam Gayton (age 8-12).

1330, Monday 15 August Getting Muddy with Emer Stamp (age 5-8).

1400, Monday 15 August, Animal Introductions with Nicola Davies and Petr Horacek. (age 4-7).

14.30 Monday 15 August, drop in drawing workshop with Ana and Thiago de Moraes. (all ages).

1515 Monday 15 August, Canine Capers with Richard Byrne (age 3-6).

1000, Tuesday 16 August, Animal Mashup with Ana and Thiago de Moraes. (age 4-7).

13.30 Tuesday 16 August Getting Muddy with Emer Stamp. (age 5-8).

1515 Tuesday 16 August animal illustration with Petr Horacek. (age 4+).

1545 Tuesday 16 August Heroes of the Wild with Nicola Davies. (age 9-12).

1700, Tuesday 16 August animal illustration with Claire Maker and Ross Collins. (age 7-10).

11am - 3pm Willow sculpture (drop in) with David Powell (all ages).

1330, Wednesday 17 August Let Your Kinds Go Wild Outside with with Fiona Bird. (ages 7+)


1515, Wednesday 17 August Midnight at the Zoo (and make an animal mask!) with Faye Hanson (age 4-7).

1000, Thursday 18 August Hiccuping animals with Holly Sterling (age 3-6).

11am - 3pm Willow Sculpture (drop in) with David Powell (all ages).

15.15, Thursday 18 August Going Wild with Fiona Bird (age 7+).

1145, Friday 19 August Hibernating Hedgehogs with Cate James (age 4-7).

13.30, Friday 19 August Beautiful Birds with Matt Spink (age 4-7).

1700, Friday 19 August Furball Fun with Holly Webb (age 5-8).

1000, Saturday 20 August, Cornelia Funke and the Terrible Tab (age 5-8).

11.00 Saturday 20 August, free drop in Big Draw with Matt Spink. (all ages).

1330 Saturday 20 August The Bolds with Julian Vlary and David Roberts. (age 6+).

13.30 Saturday 20 August Mythical Scottish Sea Stories and Crafts (free drop in, all ages).

13.30 Saturday 20 August Holly Webb's Furry Friends (age 5-8).

1400 Saturday 20 August Talking to Animals with Sophie Thompson (age 6-9).

1515 Saturday 20 August The Jungle Book Retold with Robert F Hunter (age 4-7).

1700 Saturday 20 August Baxter the Giant Beetle with M G Leonard (age 10-14).

1000, Sunday 21 August Magical Monsters with Kristina Stephenson (age 4-7).

1030 Sunday 21 August  The Great Diamond Chase with Tracey Corderoy & Steven Lenton (age 4-7).

12.15 Sunday 21August The Howlet with Kate Leiper and James Robertson (age 7 - 10).

1500 Sunday 21 August A Girl's Best  Friend with Ann M Martin (age 10+).

1630, Sunday 21 August Revealing Life's Mysteries with Gill Arbuthnott (ages 8 - 12).

1345 Monday 22 August Archie the Impatient Rhino with Tracey Corderoy & Tim Warnes (age 3-6).

1330, Wednesday 24 August Odd Dog Out with Rob Biddulph (age 3-6).

1145, Thursday 25 August Odd Dog Out with Rob Biddulph (age 3-6).

1515 Thursday 25 August Japanese Melodies and Myths with Mio Shipley (age 3+).

1700 Thursday 25 August Amazing Plants with Christiane Dorion (age 7-10).

1745 Thursday 25 August Creature Companions with Louis de Bernieres and Gill Lewis (age 10+).

11.00 Friday 26 August A Birthday Party with the Large Family with Jill Murphy (free drop-in all ages).

1430 Friday 26 August Alex T Smith's Big Draw (all ages, free drop-in).

1545, Friday 26 August New Bear on the Block with Sav Akyuz & Ben Bailey Smith (age 4-7).

1415 Saturday 27 August Furry Friends (Humphrey the Hamster) with Betty G Birney (age 7-10).
I love the Humphrey books! You can read my read my review of Humphrey's adventures here).

1000 Sunday 28 August The Great Aaa-Ooo with Jonny Lambert (age 3-6).

1030 Sunday 28 August Monkeying Around with Lydia Monks. (age 4-7).

1330 Sunday 28 August Mr Cleghorns Seal with Judith Kerr (age 10+).

13.30 Sunday 28 August Peter the Badger with Emily Gravett (age 4-7).

1430 Sunday 28 August Hrefna Bragadottir's Big Draw (free drop in, all ages).

1515, Sunday 28 August Bear's Adventure with Benedict Blathwayt (age 3-6).

1315, Monday 29 August Baxter's Starring Role with Hrefna Bragadottir (age 3-6).

1500, Monday 29 August The Shrew that Flew with Julia Copus (age 3-6).



















Water of Leith Roseburn to Stockbridge

Crafty Green Boyfriend and I walked this section of the Water of Leith today. The water is very heavy with sediment at the moment, probably due to the flood prevention work that's going on upstream from this section (I've emailed the Water of Leith Conservation Trust for an update on how this sediment might be affecting the river ecology).

It's still a very pretty stretch of the river to walk along, with some lovely riverside buildings in the Dean Village



and we saw a dipper, mallards and this grey heron, who was posing for a crowd of photographers in Stockbridge.

The mallards didn't have ducklings and I wouldn't be surprised if the heron was to blame....

I also noticed this lovely fern wall - the large fern is harts tongue, the smaller is maidenhair spleenwort.

And I was pleased to see this new notice from the local community council

For 30 Days Wild.