"Scottish Snippets"

"Colour Supplement"

19 April 2008

The Rampant Scotland Newsletter includes a number of photographs which illustrate the weather and the seasons, plus the flora and fauna of the current week around Scotland. This separate "colour supplement" displays some more pictures, in a larger format. Here is this week's crop of Scottish views!

There is nothing more evocative of spring and the promise of a new beginning than lambs in the fields. This one, at Ardardan Estate near Helensburgh in Argyll, was enjoying the sunshine and a rest in a covered area of the farm where the newly born lambs can shelter from the weather.

There were also lambs out in the fields at Ardardan Estate. This ewe and her three offspring came charging towards me when I appeared. Their eagerness wasn't because they wanted their photographs taken - they just mistook me for one of the farm hands who provides food supplements. Later, those lambs were playing games, gambolling with a huge amount of energy on a small hillock.

Ardardan is not only a working farm but has created a garden centre and a farm shop (as well as an excellent tearoom - see the review in Great Places to Eat ). This Polyanthus with an unusual mixture of colours was growing in the demonstration garden.

Star Magnolia, or Magnolia Stellata, is a very slow growing perennial tree with large showy white or pink flowers in early spring before the appearance of the leaves. The star-shaped, slightly fragrant 710 cm (34 in) flowers cover the branches in early spring.

There have been quite a few pictures of spring daffodils in this colour supplement in recent weeks and I hadn't intended including any more. But this multi-headed white variety against a blue sky proved to be irresistible - and doesn't even look like a daffodil!

Ardardan is very much a mixed farm and in addition to free-range hens (providing eggs for the farm shop) and pigs, there is a herd of Highland cows. This one's brilliantly-coloured long hair glows in the sunshine.

Like a number of other birds, the Song Thrush is very territorial during the breeding season so this one in the garden at Ardardan is no doubt resident there. Judging by the number of worms it was later managing to fly off with, it is a territory worth defending!

Some ornithologists in the UK have never seen a Water Rail. This is not just because there are fewer than 1,000 resident breeding pairs in Britain, but because the bird is extremely shy and secretive, keeping to dense reed beds and marshes with thick cover. Bird watchers are more likely to hear than see this bird - it has a distinctive squealing shriek which sounds like a piglet! Amazingly, this one was visible from one of the hides at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) wild life reserve at Vane Farm, Loch Leven, near Kinross.

If you want to look back at earlier editions of this Colour Supplement, there is an Index Page

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

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