"Scottish Snippets"

"Colour Supplement"

20 September 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!

Culzean (pronounced Cul-lane) Castle and Country Park is above a cliff on the Ayrshire coast overlooking the estuary of the river Clyde. The Kennedy family established a tower there from the 12th century but it was not until between 1777 and 1792 that the wealthy family, now known as the Earls of Cassillis, engaged Robert Adam to design a splendid castle, both inside and out. And to add to the wonders, a 565 acre parkland surrounding the castle was designed by Alexander Nasmyth and two pupils of "Capability" Brown. Today, it is owned by the National Trust for Scotland and is understandably one of its most popular properties.

Chiffchafs (so named because its repetitive song sounds exactly like "chiffchaff") is a summer visitor to the UK and this bird will shortly be flying off to southern Europe or North Africa for the winter. This small bird looks very similar to the Willow Warbler and the Wood Warbler and can often only be identified by its distinctive song. The male bird is very territorial and its loudly proclaimed song is a means of advertising its territory.

Particularly when taking pictures of wildlife, it is always necessary to take lots of pictures as you are never quite sure what will happen just as you press the shutter. It's not unusual to find that the subject has moved or even disappeared and lots of shots get thrown away (thank goodness for digital cameras!). But sometimes it turns out to be an unintended, unusual shot - such as this demented one of the Chiffchaff. The bird was jumping up to grab some seeds growing at the top of the stem seen on the right.

Yes, autumn/fall is rapidly approaching (gardening books even say "August as an autumn month in Scotland") and lots of leaves have already fallen from the trees. This young Acer is showing the sure signs of the advancing season.

A number of photos of Red Admiral butterflies have appeared in this Colour Supplement in the last few weeks, not just because they are brilliant subjects to photograph - but because it is such a relief after a barren summer to see so many of them around. This one was enjoying the Verbena flowers in the walled garden of Culzean Castle Country Park in Ayrshire.

Even though it was a dull day, this Large White butterfly shone out from the top of a tall Verbena flower, this time in Drumpellier Country Park in North Lanarkshire. With so many plants now past their flowering season, Verbena (and Sedum "Autumn Joy", for example) are sometimes the only sources of nectar suitable for insects at this time of year. It was so intent on feeding that I was able to get really close, instead of having to use a telephoto lens.

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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