Sometimes a common term can create very different images depending on how you view the world. So what picture does the term “pond skater” bring to mind? An iconic work of art or an aquatic insect? The champion pond skaters of the natural world, the water measurers (Hydrometridae), pond skaters (Gerridae) and water crickets […]
The elegant, soaring song flights of larks embellishing a summer morning are celebrated in the the glorious collective term an “elevation of larks”. Alas there is no such epipthet for the Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis). The sound of a male pipit ascending to declare his territory is unlikely to send a poet into raptures, but […]
The arrival of the Gooseberry Sawfly in the garden is the stuff of nightmares. Do not be deceived by these comely creatures, their discovery is enought to strike terror into the heart of any gardener.
I like to think as insectivorous plants as a perverse, natural revenge by plants on the animal kingdom. The prey has become the predator as they have evolved the ability to lure, trap and digest insects. This facility to acquire additional nutrients enables them to grow in habitats with poor soils such as wetland heaths […]
According to the traditional English carol The Twelve Days of Christmas, on the seventh day we should look forward to the delivery of “seven swans a swimming” which would be a notable addition to any menagerie. It conjures an idyllic, pastoral vision of a septet (or should it be heptad) of swans serenely swimming around […]
Driving home from a trip to Argyll last week, I was captivated by the extensive blue haze on the hills above Loch Lomond which slowly transformed into masses of bluebells carpeting the woodland floor down to the loch shore. Spectacular displays of bluebells are one of the highlights of the spring; the swathes of bulbs […]
A Hebridean beach safari for curious naturalists Bank Holidays are traditionally a time for a trip to the beach, and Hebridean beaches can be as quiet as any Robinson Crusoe desert island. However, they are not as empty as they might appear and a closer look will reveal an abundance of life. The animals and […]
The Outer Hebrides are a string of islands on north-west edge of the British Isles, separated from the mainland and islands of the Inner Hebrides by the Minch and Sea of the Hebrides. All the islands all have their own distinct character; their landscapes and rich wildlife protected by a traditional way of life and […]