"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 time of year.
Horticulturalists spend years and large sums of money creating new roses - and yet some of the best are still the ones found growing wild in the hedgerows in the countryside. This white Wild Rose was growing beside Hogganfield Loch in Glasgow, earlier this week.
These pretty flowers are only about a half-inch across. Its common name is "Pink Purslane" and its botanical name is "Claytonia sibirica." It prefers damp, shady places in northern Britain and the west of England. The wild flower books suggest that it is fairly common in some areas but it's not one that I've come across before. It was introduced to the UK from western North America.
Moorhens are good looking birds, but the same cannot really be said about their chicks - it's that blue mascara that does the damage! This Moorhen mother was having a busy time feeding her family of six balls of fluff. Both parents build the nest of aquatic plants, usually in thick reeds, and take turns at incubating the eggs. The young are then fed by both parents. Although after about 25 days they can feed themselves, they continue to be fed by the parents until they can fly at around 45 days.
Every visit to Culzean Castle offers something new to see - like these stunning white paeonia (peony) in the walled garden. There is a border with a large collection of these.
Since early May when the Orange Tip butterflies were still dancing around, these insects have been conspicuous by their absence, with only a few faded and tattered Peacock butterflies surviving after their winter hibernation. So it was with some delight that this Painted Lady was spotted at the nature reserve at Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire. They don't overwinter in Scotland and migrate here from the Mediterranean.
Pyrrhosma Nymphula is better known by its common name of "Large Red". It is one of only two red damselflies in Britain (the other one is the Red-eyed Damselfly). Damselflies are usually smaller than dragonflies and the Large Red grows to just 3.6 centimetres (just under 1½ inches) long. Yes, the camera got quite close!
This young robin looks most incongruous, with its fluffy feathers and round body. It was hopping on the ground at the Royal Society for the protection of Birds reserve at Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire. It seemed to be totally unafraid of us humans and came right over beside us, before eventually flying off. It is a mystery how those short stubby wings could support that rotund body!
Most of the clover we see growing in the fields and by the side of roads is white with a pink or dark brown at the foot of the petals. The attractive red variety is not seen so often.
There are usually plenty of Greylag geese landing at lochs and on fields in central Scotland. Some take up residence but we don't often see Canada geese like these ones here at Drumpellier Country Park.
Tradescantia (also known as Spiderwort Lily) produces silky flowers with its three petals surrounding the spidery stamens. Each flower, about an inch across, lasts only for a day or so, but they are produced in large clusters and another bloom appears the next day - and the next - from early summer until autumn. There are purple and white varieties of this attractive and easy-to-grow plant
Dactylorhiza or Marsh Orchid is one of the easiest of hardy orchids to grow - there were quite a number to be seen in the gardens of Finlaystone Country Estate in Renfrewshire. Each hooded flower on the upright spike has a three-lobed lip pattern with darker dots and streaks.
The number of charter holiday flights going in and out of Scottish airports increases dramatically at this time of year. In the past, east European airlines used to fly noisy Russian Tupolev and Ilyushin aircraft. Now, travel companies like Balkan Holidays use Airbus A320 and similar aircraft on their routes to Bulgaria and Croatia.
Balgonie Castle in Fife was built originally in the 14th century. King James IV and Mary Queen of Scots are known to have visited the castle - Mary seems to have visited most places in Central Scotland and the Borders! Later, in 1716, the castle was captured and set on fire by Rob Roy MacGregor and his clansmen. Balgonie is now occupied and has been restored by the "Laird of Balgonie" who not only escorts visitors around his castle, he also hires it out as a romantic setting for weddings and other functions.
Foxgloves (Digitalis) are wild flowers but are often used in damp, shady borders in gardens as they are one of the few tall plants (up to six feet in height) that can produce such a show in these difficult conditions. The usual colour combination is shown here, but there are others which are mainly cream, apricot, yellow or even reddish brown. The plants deteriorate after the flowering season and usually need to be removed. But they spread freely by self-seeding.
Cirsium is a cultivated variety of Thistle - they grow to a height of four or five feet and are non-invasive, unlike their wild counterparts.
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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