Pondskater Gerris thoracicus

Walking on Water

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 serene figure of the Reverend Robert Walker, minister of the Canongate Kirk and a member of the Edinburgh Skating Society, […]

Signs of Spring survey 2020

Back in January a few of us involved in Curracag and the Outer Hebrides Biological Recording group decided to launch a phenology survey we ended up calling Signs of Spring. Phenology is the study of when things happen and for centuries people have systematically recorded when certain natural events occur. Perhaps the most famous phenologist

Meadow pipit Anthus pratensis

A Profusion of Pipits

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 epithet 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

Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum)

Another carnivorous plant in the Outer Hebrides?

I enjoyed reading the recent summary of insectivorous plants in the Outer Hebrides and was reminded of it whilst taking part in my ritual but futile summer Horsetail pulling. Like many, my garden is riddled with horsetail and we have an uneasy truce. It grows, I pull it up, it grows, I pull and so

Gooseberry Sawfly (Euura ribesii)

Gooseberry Sawfly

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.

Bladderworts, Butterworts and Sundews

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

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