Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Maybe I was a little presumptious..

Following a visit to saltmarsh in early September I'd pretty much convinced myself that we were in the thick of autumn; thankfully it  was refreshing to see that I'd been a little 'too soon' in my thinking. I took a walk into the nether regions of Holm last Saturday and found plenty of wetland plants still in flower and providing food for late summer bees. This peaty wetland was still full of Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Willowherb, Marsh Thistle, Lesser Spearwort and most surprisingly Ragged Robin. That'll teach me to be too presumptious - I'm off to find more late bloomers....watch this space
Ragged Robin

Marsh Ragwort

Marsh Thistle with Carder bee

and again

Marsh Willowherb

Lesser Spearwort

Thursday, 20 September 2012

the localities for Anne's latest plate are:
top left - Crowberry - Tafts, Rousay
top middle - Goldenrod - cliffs below Fillets, Graemsay
top right - Carnation Sedge - Inyana Hellia, Costa, Birsay

bottom left - Devil's-bit Scabious - Carlin Geo, Stronsay
bottom middle - Glaucous Sedge - Head of Work, St Ola
bottom right - Common Sorrel - west side Auskerry

Saturday, 1 September 2012

September comes

We appear to have been thrown into autumn very, very suddenly. The wet meadows of Meadowsweet have lost their creamy frothy flowers and the flower-heads are now blackened. The salt marshes which barely a fortnight ago were resplendent with Sea Aster are now blasted and the lilac flower-heads have been thrown into disarray and confusion. On a more personal level, the Sycamore leaves are now piling up in the front garden and this week I've seen children playing helicopters with Sycamore wings.
Sea Aster at its best 
Talking of salt marshes, I went to the Ouse in Finstown in preparation for a wildflower walk this weekend and looking at the Sea Aster mentioned above, it was clear that autumn had stepped across the threshold. It hadn't taken long for the combination of high tides and autumn winds to turn the salt marsh into a bit of a mess with seaweeds and detritus draped across the sea-washed turf and its plants - Sea Plantain and Sea Arrow-grass were festooned with marine bunting.

Perennial Sowthistle
There were some plusses though. At this time of year the Perennial Sowthistle lights up the backshore with golden yellow orbs. And it's worthwhile peering into the marsh or among the shingle for two of the salt marshes understated jewels - Glasswort and Sea Blite. Along the shores of the Ouse I managed to find a few plants resplendent in their autumn colours.

Glasswort and 'blasted' Sea Aster
lilac flower-heads have been thrown into disarray and confusion
Sea Blite