Rampant Scotland

Scotland in Colour Week By Week

May - Week 4

"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, this collection gives a good idea of the flora and fauna typical of central Scotland at each time of year.

Orange Tip Butterfly

The vivid orange tips to the top of this butterfly's otherwise white forewing - looking almost as if its wings had been dipped in orange paint, gave the Orange Tip butterfly its name. The undersides of the wings, on the other hand, are mottled green and white, creating a superb camouflage when settled on flowerheads Over the past 25/30 years there has been a rapid increase in the range of the Orange Tip in the UK - particularly into Scotland where it is now found as far north as Moray. This one was spotted resting on some heather in Finlaystone Country estate in Inverclyde.

Dicentra Bleeding Heart

This Dicentra (more commonly known as "Bleeding Heart") in a shady corner of my garden and has been producing more and more of these graceful, arching flowers each year.

Cassiope var Mertensia Gracilis

It was just as well that this plant had its label in the walled garden of the Colzium Estate in North Lanarkshire. A relation of the bell heather, its name is Cassiope and the variety is Mertensia Gracilis.

The Great Crested Grebe is famous for its courtship dance, in which the two birds make synchronised dives, face one another, with much head shaking. The male bird will also bring water weed or fish and present it to his mate. The birds here look like youngish birds (the crest is not yet fully developed) but are nevertheless going through the rituals.

This female Mallard has a major task shepherding her brood of eleven ducklings and keeping them out of harm's way. She gets no help from her mate - he departs while she is incubating the eggs. But at least, unlike the Coots, the female Mallard doesn't have to directly feed her family - they swim and feed themselves as soon as they are hatched. In fact, she sometimes darts forward and snatches any food before the ducklings can reach it!

This rhododendron at Glendoick Gardens in Perthshire is full of surprises as its reddish buds open to reveal apricot flowers with an orange tinge at the edges. This is one of scores of beautiful rhododendrons at Glendoick House, not only in the formal garden, but also in the extensive woodland walk area.

There are a number of varieties of Trillium (Wood Lily) at Glendoick. This unusually dark one is Trillium Erectum which has gathered a number of "popular" names - including Birthroot, Lamb's Quarters and Wet Dog Trillium!

While attempting to take close-up photographs of Damselflies at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) reserve at Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire, this one was most obliging and flew onto the back of my hand, where it posed for a few minutes while I took its portrait!

Abutilon flowers usually hang face-downwards from the branches, so it can be awkward angling the camera upwards to reveal the unusual deep red and black markings of this variety.

Mecanopsis are often a brilliant blue, but this pure white variety is one of a range of these lovely Himalayan flowers growing at the gardens at Glendoick. As with the Abutilon above, Mecanopsis flowers tend to point down to the ground and require some unusual positions of the camera!

The Mistle Thrush is larger than the more frequently seen Song Thrush and its speckles are made up of bigger spots. It is also much shyer than the Song Thrush and is rarely seen in suburban gardens. This one was photographed in the countryside north of Glasgow.

The recent warmer weather has produced a surge in the development of many flowers, including this brilliant, golden-yellow Azalea. It is one of many Azaleas (and Rhododendrons) in the gardens of Finlaystone Country Estate in Inverclyde at this time of year.

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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