Tuesday, 19 March 2013

When the Sun Shines

We had some bright calm weather in spells at the weekend and some early ground frost before cold north easterly winds set in.  There was snow above 2,000 feet on Marsco and the hills around.

It was Spring-like in the sun, and the Lesser Celandines are now properly in flower.  They pop up everywhere, because the croft is very damp.  They are underrated, I guess because they are regarded as a weed, and in sheets they look terrific, if a little gaudy.  I have literature to agree with me:  Wordsworth was sufficiently impressed with the plant that he wrote an ode  "To the Small Celandine".

There was no wind so that the sea was flat calm which is not a very common and the cormorants and other sea birds were easy to spot.    There were several Great Northern Divers and a total of 5 Red-throated Divers at some distance away.   Their summer plumage was emerging.  I saw 9 Red-breasted mergansers which have just about paired up but males predominate so there was lots of aggressive behaviour between the males.

In the warmer interludes small clouds of midges erupted in the damper areas particulaly near to trees and other shady areas.   This one was around 5mm long (body length) and I think it is a Chironomid fly - a non-biting midge, based on the wing pattern, the angled wings over the body, and the lack of a proboscis.   But I could well be wrong!  In Britain alone there are at least 7,000 species in the Diptera Order (True Flies), and if I am right and this belongs to the Chironimidae family there are 608 species to choose from.  It does illustrate how specialised the study of insects is, and how inadequate a digital image taken in the field is for species identification.

There is plenty of otter spraint around, but had no otter sightings.

No comments:

Post a Comment