‘Tis the season of the grass. The grasses are all at their full growth just now, as any hay fever sufferers will tell you. Even if you don’t suffer, you may well find yourself sneezing as there’s just so much pollen in the air. I know it’s a bit sad, but I have my favourite, and least favourite grasses. Least favourite definitely has to be cock’s foot. The pollen makes you sneeze and the damnable stuff is like wire when you cut it- I’ve had both mowers and strimmers grind to a halt with cock’s foot wrapped round their blades. Favourite is quaking grass- very pretty, but you don’t get it here, the soil is too acid. And I must admit, they have some great names – cock’s foot, Yorkshire fog, flying bent, sweet vernal grass, crested dog’s tail…the list goes on.
It’s not just the grasses that are out. The teasels are nearly at their full growth. The finches love their spiky seed heads over the autumn and winter and winkle the tiny seeds out with their fine bills.
And we’ve seen an adder for the first time in ages! Willow spotted a baby adder curled up the grass. You can see how tiny it is by the size of the goose feather and germander speedwell flower nearby.
More obvious was this cormorant “wing drying” on the loch. It used to be thought that they were drying their wings, but sitting like this may be do with heat regulation. Or it could be saying “the fish I nearly caught was this big”.
Also obvious and less attractive was the litter that continues to be left by, well,let’s face it, idiots, around the loch. Funny how it can be carried in but not out, isn’t it?
After not seeing them for nearly a fortnight, we finally caught up with the grebes again. It was one of those odd days when you look over the loch and think “It’s raining. I can see rain on the water. But I can’t feel it”….but you were actually looking at the leading edge of a shower coming towards you.
The baby grebe is still there- and still hitching a lift on mum’s back. She must be feeling it by now- it looks massive. But I bet lots of parents think that – surely you can’t be that tired that you need carried? Especially now you’re that big!
The rain has made some of the fungi pop up. We’ve seen lots starting to appear, including this orange birch bolete. As its name suggests, it is associated with birch trees and has a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with the tree.
While lots of creatures have finished breeding for the year, some look like they are just away to start. I suspect this squirrel is a pregnant female – she looks pretty fat- and is collecting material for her drey.
Away from the wildlife, we’ve been really busy -lots of strimming and grass cutting, and the Fun Day to prepare for. Tonight, Thursday, the visitor centre looks like a whirlwind has hit it, with all the stuff lying out for tomorrow. But, if you come and see us tomorrow, Fri 7th, it will all be transformed into a wonderful, free activity-filled day!