Friday 9 June 2017

A trip south, part 3

The forecast for Sunday was for more showers with a few sunny periods. The plan had been to climb the hill behind the cottage, going up to a water body shown on the OS map, in the hope of finding some dragons. It looked like a long, gentle slog, definitely do-able, and the lower part of the route had already delivered with Tawny Owl and Pine Marten. Closer scrutiny of the map revealed shooting butts on the tops, so the higher land was obviously being managed for Red Grouse, with all the environmental nasties that entails, and then I noticed that the water body was fenced off. Hmmm.

So, instead, we drove up Glen Lyon, past Fortingall and its 5000 year old Yew tree, and parked at Bridge of Balgie. Over a pre-walk cuppa at the Post Office and Tea Room, we chatted to a family up on holiday from the Scottish borders (mum, dad, two wee bairns and grand dad). It turned out that next month they'll be in Orkney, exploring family roots and taking in all that scenery. As I explained what we were doing in Glen Lyon, i.e. going for a walk, it dawned on me that this was quite a big deal. In the previous twelve months, since we'd last been in Glen Lyon actually, Our Lass has had two knee operations. This walk was going to be our first proper amble up a hill for many a year. Momentousness!

Donning waterproofs, we set off across the bridge over the River Lyon and towards the start of the walk. Our main challenge was going to be the climb up the side of a gorge formed by two burns. Taking it slow and steady, with frequent halts for... er... taking photographs, we made our way ever higher.

Dung beetle of some sort

Rock showing striations caused during glaciation

Singing Tree Pipit. That's the pipit singing, not the tree.
Near the top of the initial hill, we came across several pools. As it was beginning to rain, we sheltered by some trees and had lunch. By the time we had polished off several slices of flapjack and some fruit, the sun was beginning to re-appear. All the better to explore the pools.

Diligent staring at likely spots produced several Common Blue Damselflies and a single Blue-tailed Damselfly, though sadly, nothing larger.

Much later, looking at the images on my computer, I noticed that the Blue-tail had one wing which hadn't formed properly, or not inflated during emergence (right fore wing). It could probably manage to fly with 'one engine down', so be able to forage and maybe even mate.

The descent from the highest point of the walk began in a steady drizzle, but as we clambered our way down the side of another burn, the sun returned. On reaching the road, Our Lass managed to find a Siskin and a family of Grey Wagtails, two species that we were hoping to see during the weekend. Then it was back to the tea room for a well-earned feast.

We even shared it with the local Chaffinches, who were very used to humans.

In part 4, we return home, via a few transportational wildlife encounters.


Mark said...

Thanks for the clarification with the Tree Pippit, that had me confused! Btw your blogging has had a profound effect on me, I've always loved Butterflies ( and Birds of both varieties) but you 've got me into Dragonflies. I try to do a long bike ride by the river, every weekend through the Spring and Summer months. There are often Dragons and Damsels, just begining to identify a few of them. I find them hard to photograph though. Toodles, Mark.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Oops, sorry! You'll have lots more to choose from than I do, which adds to the difficulty. And they don't tend to hang about when it's warm. Once they've landed, photography becomes a bit easier, but I guess finding a roosting one will be tricky from a speeding bicycle?