Rampant Scotland

Scotland in Colour Week By Week

July - Week 2

"Scotland Week by Week" contains a selection of flowers, animals, birds and scenery typical of the time of year. The photographs were previously part of a regular "Colour Supplement" which ran for nearly four years as part of the original Scottish Snippets newsletter. While seasons do vary from year to year, this collection gives a good idea of the flora and fauna typical of central Scotland at each week of year.

The fluted, papery petals of Godetia come in a wide variety of colours and provide a bright display in any border. These ones are growing in my own garden - I have to look out for them in the garden centres in the spring, as surprisingly they are not always stocked as Godetia seem to have gone out of favour in recent years.

The bird sanctuary at Lochwinnoch is not just about our feathered friends. There are wild flowers, frogs (you have to watch where you step as there are lots of tiny ones), dragonflies and mayflies and, of course, butterflies. This is a Green-veined White Butterfly.

If you want a photo like this of Falkland Palace, you have to wait until late in the afternoon as there are usually cars parked all along the street until the local shops shut and the tourists drift away!

Eryngium always remind me of a demented thistle that has been dancing too wildly at a Highland ceilidh (they are indeed part of the thistle family). The spiny bracts are a favourite of bees and wasps.

When this Heron landed among a group of dozing Mallards, I expected them to scatter in alarm. Not a bit of it. They are probably well used to it and just continued to dream on, their heads tucked under their wings.

This picture of windsurfing on Castle Semple Loch at Lochwinnoch is a reminder that even when the sun is out there can be strong winds creating a "wind chill" factor even in the summer.

A member of the large Dianthus family, Sweet William is named after the infamous Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, a younger son of King George II, whose savagery after Culloden earned him the title "Butcher Cumberland". To this day, there are many in Scotland who will not grow this plant in their gardens for that reason.

As these pages have sometimes illustrated, there are many different varieties of thistle growing in Scotland. While this one may look more like the spiny, wild thistle that most folk recognise, it is actually an Onopurdum, which grows to a height of around eight feet, surrounded by those jagged leaves. So instead of a flower close-up, this was taken with a telephoto lens to get up to that height!

Some of the coot chicks born earlier this year are nearly grown up and are as big as their parents. The youngsters here are either the offspring of coots deciding to have a second brood, or a couple who have left it a bit late. It is suspected that this may be the first time that the parents have raised a family as the nest was not hidden away as usual, but only a few feet from the pedestrian pathway going round the loch at Drumpellier Country Park - unwise, to say the least. And although the parents are "hard-wired" to feed their chicks, they did seem a bit bewildered by the process!

Although well known for their tall spires of intense blue flowers, delphiniums are also found in other colours such as yellow, pink, red and (as here) white. These ones were growing in the walled garden at Culzean Castle Country Park in Ayrshire.

Last year, we were fortunate to be visiting Culzean Castle at this time of year and were able to see a red deer fawn being born. This year, we just missed the event but this youngster was still at the "staggery" stage and was being licked by its mother. It was surprising to see a red deer looking white - until we saw who "dad" was. See below.

This seems to be a new red deer stag introduced to Culzean Castle Country Park and although not as white as its newborn offspring above, it is a very pale colour, almost white on its neck and rear quarters.

These cornus flowers start off white, but as they begin to wilt, instead of turning brown, they develop this mottled red effect. Later, the fruit in the centre of those petals will grow into something that brings to mind a deformed strawberry!

Kinross House near Loch Leven has a large number of rose beds dedicated to particular types. So visitors can enjoy a sea of pink, red, yellow or white roses. But equally roses look well in close up too as this golden yellow one illustrates very well.

Sir William Bruce (1630 - 1710) was appointed "surveyor of the king's works" in Scotland by King Charles I and was responsible for rebuilding the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh (in anticipation of a visit by King Charles II which never materialised) as well as for major works at Hopetoun House and Thirlestane Castle. His many works prompted some to call him the "Christopher Wren of Scotland." So when he came to design a house for himself towards the end of the 17th century, he knew a thing or two about architecture and about Scotland. The site he chose for Kinross House overlooked Loch Leven and the castle on the island where Mary Queen of Scots had been imprisoned was framed by the gates at the end of the magnificent, long garden. Nearer the house, is this fountain and lily pond.

The well-kept lawns at Kinross House seem to attract a flock of Oystercatchers in the late afternoon. I've seen them on many occasions but they are very nervous and fly away as soon as anyone gets near. On this occasion I managed to creep round some bushes and take a few pictures before they realised I was there!

But of course it didn't take long before they took flight, noisily sounding their shrill, piercing alarm call! Despite their name, Oystercatchers don't always feed at the seashore but will come inland, often nesting on the banks of rivers and the shores of lochs.

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) produce yellow, orange or red flower trumpets that are about two inches across and a distinctive long spur at the rear - see the spur on the bud on the bottom left of this picture. They are popular annuals for flower beds, window boxes and hanging baskets. Some varieties can climb up trellises or trail down walls.

Siskins are lively finches with a distinctive forked tail and streaky yellow-green body. The planting of commercial forests helped Siskins to expand their numbers during the 20th century as spruce seeds are a major part of their diet. But they are not averse to helping themselves, for example, to food served up by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) at the bird feeders near the visitor centre at the reserve at Vane Farm near Loch Leven in Perth and Kinross. The Siskin in this photo is either a female or a juvenile - the male has a distinctive black cap.

Coreopsis (also known as Tickseed or Calliopsis) produce a mass of bright yellow (occasionally red or pink) single or double flowers throughout the summer. Most coreopsis originated from North America

If you want to look back at other editions of these photos of Scotland week by week, there is an Index Page

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