Saturday 13 June 2020

Phase One frolics

The previous post was written on Wednesday, late afternoon, and I mentioned that the sun was just putting in an appearance following a day of dreary cloud. The evening was lovely, so we walked a slightly different route to the low cliffs at the Bay of Semolie. There was a rather biting wind coming in off the sea, so we didn't hang about or take any photos, merely noticing that there was much Kidney Vetch visible on the cliff face out of reach of grazing sheep.

Nearer home, the pools by the kirk were more sheltered, so we were happy to linger and watch the bird life. Well, I say 'watch', there was as much listening, because Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, a Sedge Warbler and even a Reed Bunting were singing for all they were worth. I guess we weren't the only ones to be happy to see the sun. Predictably, my camera was only interested in iridescent Lapwing plumage and cute ducklings.

Returning to Tense Towers, the sunlight on the flower border was beautiful, and from a different angle to usual (when we're in the house looking out).

The following day, we arranged to go for a socially-distanced walk at the RSPB's Hobbister reserve with Eagle-eyed M. It was wonderful to be able to meet up again and spend time exploring the wildlife of the reserve. This turned out to be mainly flora, though we did see a family of Ravens tumbling across the moor and several Red-throated Divers out of the waters of Scapa Flow. The small valleys of woodland were alive with Willow Warbler song, for me, the most perfect sound to de-stress a global pandemic.

Bog Cotton

Common Carder Bee on Lousewort

Garden Bumblebee (I think)

Tiny trigonometrical toadstools

Actually, they're a dung fungus

All less than 5mm across

I'm advised that this is a species of Cheilymenia (thanks LJ)

Catsear, ID'd by M

Sheep Sorrel (ID'd by several folk on Orkney Wildflowers FB page)

And one FB-er informed me that these are male flowers. Now I will have to look for the female ones!

Heath Speedwell, ID'd by M

Unfurling ferny fiddlehead

which will become a Hard Fern
There is a little more hope that lockdown may be relaxed further soon. Judging by the number of folk who are keen to visit the wild and rugged island of Hoy, we're gonna need a bigger boat.


Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

Some fascinating pictures here. The brightly coloured fungus is specially interesting.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Thank you, Lucy. At first I thought that they might be the fruiting bodies of a lichen, but once I looked at the photographs, I could see that they were a fungus of some sort. The only small bright red fungus I knew was Scarlet Elf Cup, but I hadn't seen it up here. Fortunately, folk more knowledgeable than I in these matters put me straight. This is the positive side of social media, finding groups of helpful naturalists!