Each week the Scottish Snippets Newsletter includes a number of photographs which illustrate the flora and fauna of the current week around Scotland. On occasions, there are so many such graphics worth including that a separate "colour supplement" is created so as not to totally overload the Newsletter. Here is this week's crop taken around Scotland.
On Tuesday, while much of Scotland was being affected by cloud and rain, the north-east of the country was enjoying some late September sunshine - as this shot of Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire shows. The vivid red of the ivy on the walls is shown in close-up below.
Autumn colours are begining to be seen on trees such as sycamore and rowan (mountain ash) and specially selected variities of ivy are now coming into their own. Crathes castle has a particularly good display every year (and so has Scone Palace in Perthshire).
Just as the leaves are turning red, male Ruddy Ducks (so-called because of the red shade of their feathers) are about to lose their lovely russet colour for the winter. Their blue bill will also turn grey and the distinctive bright white cheeks will develop black speckles. Ruddy Ducks are often very shy and keep well away from humans, so getting this close at Hogganfield Loch nature reserve in Glasgow was lucky.
The bright yellow flowers of Helenium brighten up any autumn border - these ones were in the wonderful walled gardens (yes, plural) at Crathes. Helenium's common name is "Sneezeweed" (they were used by early American colonists to make snuff) but nobody would sneeze at these plants looking like a collection of little suns.
The swan population at Hogganfield Loch in Glasgow is much larger than it should be - thanks to the number of visitors who feed them with bread. But that means that the dependent birds crowd into the bank to get their share, creating a melee as tey all try to get more than their share!
Unlike many clematis, this variety does not produce particualrly large or impressively coloured flowers. But when the flowers are over these attractive seed pods appear.
Tufted Ducks often look incongruous with that tuft of feathers sticking out if the back of their heads. The feathers are often flat against their heads, however, immediately after they have been diving under the water. This one, however, looks as though it having a "bad hair day"!
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