Monday, 28 February 2011

Early blooms

Orkney has experienced some very uplifting weather in the last five days and the prospects are good for a few more days right through to the first weekend of March. With plenty of sun on offer it's the signal for Lesser Celandines and Primroses to reveal themselves. I took a group out to Orphir on Saturday in the hope of seeing Primroses and hearing Skylarks - unfortunately we failed on both counts (but did see Great Northern Diver, Black-throated Diver, two Gadwall and displaying Shelducks). Flower compensation came in the form of swathes of Snowdrops at the Bu and at Swanbister. The following day my Sunday class was in Sandwick walking from St Peter's at Skaill to Lenahowe in Tenston. Still no Skylarks but on the south facing banks alongside the Loch of Skaill, there were half a dozen Primroses in full glory. We all punched the air - figuratively. And on returning to Willow Road late on Sunday afternoon, there on the south facing banks of the burn were a few chrome-yellow Lesser Celandine flowers.

In the Orkney Book of Wildflowers, Primroses appear in the Wild Wood section and Lesser Celandine in the Tame Wood. We know that species do not stick religiously to these habitats and both Primrose and Lesser Celandine can be seen in other habitats. Go to Dingieshowie and you'll see plenty of Primroses in among the mature dunes; go to the Ring of Brodgar and you'll see a great carpet of Lesser Celandines in the great ditch.

Primroses at Dingieshowie

The carpet of Lesser Celandines at the Ring of Brodgar

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