Staring at the ground

Spent most of today’s walk looking down as I was looking for flowers to ID and also making sure I didn’t accidentally slide into the burn. More on that later, because first I’d like to show you how beautiful this next creature is. Look at the markings on its back, the placement of its incredible eyes, the hairs on its legs that it uses to detect vibrations, the legs it uses to charge across your bathroom floor, sending your brother into your room asking for you to catch it… And I’m not even being sarcastic. I genuinely find House Spiders Tegenaria domestica to be very beautifully dangerous creatures (for other things its own size of course, of no danger to you and me).

Back to today’s wander. It was perfect weather, mostly blue skys with the occasional whispy cirrus cloud adding to the blank sky. However, yesterday it was raining non-stop all day. Fortunately for me we were not hit as bad as parts of England, and my thoughts are with those affected. It was wet here though, wet enough for the Puddle Pond on the Hermitage Golf Course to be overflowing, almost every path to be a small stream, and for there to be streams in places I’d never seen them before!

One thing that stood out even more was that part of my usual route had been washed into the burn. It was quite clearly going to happen and I have no idea why nobody has dealt with it yet. So I set about dealing with it myself by blocking the path with gorse branches and diverting the path higher above the burn, round the section that is going to completely disappear sooner-or-later, and back to the bit of the path that isn’t at risk.

Happy that that was sorted, I continued with my walk through the Hermitage. Here’s what I’ve IDed so far…

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Welsh Poppy Meconopsis cambrica
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Cleavers Galium aparine
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Rape Brassica napus
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White Dead-nettle Lamium album
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Gorse Ulex europaeus
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I think this is Rough Hawkbit Leontodon hispidus
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Same again, Rough Hawkbit Leontodon hispidus
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Giant Butterbur Petasites japonicus
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Hard Rush Juncus inflexus
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Soft Rush Juncus effusus
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Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium

The last two there are unidentified at the moment. Although I suspect the first one is Cleavers, despite looking quite spiny. The second one I’d thought would have been a Willowherb of some sort but they don’t have as many petals, and Red Campion… actually I think that’s it. Red Campion Silene dioica!

Having my eyes on the ground also helped me spot these, Red Fox footprint in the mud, Otter spraint on the golfcourse near the pond, and what I’m pretty confident are Wood Mouse droppings!

As well as these, I found these tracks just after coming across the bird that made them. Any guesses? In a very wet area, thick undergrowth, mainly reedy type plants and tall ones in an aquatic habitat with very shallow, slow-moving water.

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Yup, patch ticked Water Rail, and about flipping time! Flushed it while taking a shortcut over the burn. Speaking of patch ticks, a Raven flew over Blackford Quarry on the 23rd I think, so that got ticked off. Another one I’d have thought I would have added earlier seeing as they live in the Pentlands and are occasionally seen at Arthur’s Seat, and my patch is smack bang in between the two.

Anyway, we’ll see what the weather’s like tomorrow, and whether it’s good enough for me to be out again. Cheers for reading!

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Staring at the ground

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