West Woods Walk

Just a wee wander in a nearby woodland, looking at various things that took my fancy.

I started out heading out the back of our campus, past the spot where we left the trail camera over the winter break. Unfortunately, some low-level scum has knicked it. I’ll just leave it at that and let you gauge my level of anger at that fact.

Along the road, then bearing right I walked across where the new Western Peripheral Bypass will be at some point, and started to have a look at the various gulls in the fields. This time, it was actually mainly Herring Gulls Larus argentatus as opposed to the usually large flocks of Common Gull Larus canus that sit in the sheep fields. No Iceland Gulls present, I continued on along the road, spotting Sorrel Rumex acetosella in the roadside verge. Road the corner, Map Lichen Rhizocarpon geographicum on the stone dykes and the wee group of Feral Pigeons Columba livia that live in one of the farm buildings flew overhead.

A few Fieldfares Turdus pilaris  were joined by a couple of Mistle Thrushes Turdus viscivorus in one of the trees by the farmland.

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I continued along the road to the carpark at Brimmond Hill, where I turned right to cross Craibstone Golf Course and head into West Woods. A frsot had frozen all the still water along the path, and every step I took made a crunch. No footprints of interest in the mud this time, but I have had Squirrel sp., Red Fox Vulpes vulpes and Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus here before. I’m just waiting for the day I get Pine Marten tracks!

I came to an open area where all the Bracken Pteridium aquilinum had a layer of frost on top, just begging to be photographed.

Plus, this Cladonia-covered stump always makes me take a picture.

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I was heading for a spot in amongst the confer plantations that I knew had a lot of mosses and a large pool of stagnant water where I was hoping I’d find something of interest. The first moss I noticed was a Sphagnum, and one that I’ve already seen when up in the Moorfoot Hills: Sphagnum palustreor Blunt-leaved Bog-moss. Then there are a few that I could not identify (except Common Haircap Polytrichum commune), and I couldn’t get any decent photos of as they were frozen solid. I’ll head up again some other time.

One plant that caught my eye was what looked like some sort of stoloniferous rush. I took a few pictures and picked up a sample, then headed back to campus. On my wander back I brought out my pen knife to take apart a rush just to ensure it was only a Soft Rush Juncus effusus, studying the continuous pith and the cross section of the stem.

I eventually got back to my room where I got out my field guide and started searching. At first I was drawn to pondweeds but found nothing there, and then checked crowfoots briefly, returned to pondweeds, then into rushes and sedges, and eventually to Facebook where someone pointed out Bulbous Rush Juncus bulbosus, which is exactly what I’d found. A nice wee walk resulting in a few nice species.

I’m hoping my spider guide arrives by Friday along with my hand lens so I don’t have to use my binoculars for close-ups (look through the wrong end and move the object close to the other end, it works!). And I’ve got a lift to Glen Tanar NNR on Saturday where I’ll be helping with the tidy-up job after the recent flooding. A great opportunity to show off my Muck Boots! Might even see a Capercaille Tetrao urogallus if I’m extremely lucky!

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West Woods Walk

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