Foxgloves are a really important source of pollen for bees. The species has evolved to be especially attractive to long-tongued bees such as the common carder bee. The brightly coloured flowers and dark spotted lip attracts the bee, while the lower lip of the flower allows the insect to land before climbing up the tube. In doing so, the bee will drop pollen from other foxgloves, allowing the plant to reproduce.
The mythology and lore surrounding foxgloves is extensive. They are said to be ” Little gloves for the foxes and the fey”. In some parts of the British Isles the name seems be a corruption of “folksglove,” associating the flowers with the fairy folk, while in others the plant is also known as “fox fingers,” its blossoms used as gloves by the foxes to keep dew off their paws.
Another theory suggests that the name comes from the Anglo-Saxon word foxes-gleow, a “gleow” being a ring of bells. This is connected to Norse legends in which foxes wear the bell-shaped foxglove blossoms around their necks; the ringing of bells was a spell of protection against hunters and hounds.
Foxgloves give us digitalin, a glysoside used to treat heart disease, and this powerful plant has been used for heart tonics since Celtic and Roman times.
Our dog rose is also flowering.
The well known fruit of the Dog rose – the rose hip – fruits are a really important food source for birds such as blackbirds, redwings and waxwings.
In both ancient Greek and Roman mythology roses are heavy associated with love and beauty. As such roses are a favoured symbol and popular as a tattoo.
In the north east meadows of Loch Kinord the woodland edge is carpeted in common cow-wheat and its primrose like deep golden flowers. It almost looks like they are trying to fly using the two perpendicular leaves as wings. It is a hemi-parasitic plant, meaning that it relies on obtaining some of its nutrients from the roots of nearby plants.
This upstanding greyish coloured plant, weaves its very small, bright blue flowers into the vibrant colours of the Kinord meadows. It is a wildflower of disturbed ground, often cultivated arable land.
Forget-me-nots used to be known as ‘scorpion-grass’, the current name only appearing in the early 19th century. The name Scorpion-grass arose because the flower clusters are more or less bent over or coiled. Other common names include Bird’s eye, Robin’s eye, Mammy-flooer, Snake-grass and Love-me.
For our birds raising their broods is foremost on their minds. Our female spotted flycatcher is sitting tight on her clutch of 5 wine red veined eggs above our office door, though the debris of dead bumblebees and flies under her nest is a promising sign that she is getting time to feed as well.
Male skylarks can be spotted rising almost vertically from the ground where they hover effortlessly, singing from a great height, before parachuting back down to earth. Despite their aerial activities, skylarks nest on the ground, laying three to four eggs.
You may come across areas scattered in big primary feathers. This is where our greylag geese have begun their post breeding moult. . Moulting is a process of shedding and regrowing feathers.
Unlike most other birds, ducks, geese and swans lose all their flight feathers at once, rendering them flightless for a period.
Adult birds are shedding their worn out feathers from this year’s breeding season and growing new, strong, warm feathers to see them through the winter. Moulting is a drain on a bird’s resources. It takes energy to grow new feathers, there may be heat loss when feathers are shed, affecting insulation, and when flight feathers are lost, more energy may be needed for flight.