Wednesday, 30 May 2018

summer already?

Winter may have dragged its feet and hung around far too long, but to compensate Spring and Summer seemed to have joined forces and have dashed onstage with a number of blazingly hot days of late. Luckily my work diary (ahem) has been amenable to little mid-week vacations to go running after butterflies and I have been having lots of great days out recently. Saturday 19th May was more back to the usual with a 6 miler down at Gullane / Aberlady with Mary, and a wee dip afterwards. However the sunshine was far from usual and it must have been climbing through the 20s bringing out a number of creatures not normally seen on this run.

A small copper on the John Muir Way was an unexpected start to the run. Just beside the golf course. I saw one near Aberlady beach a few years back, but they are not commonplace around here. I had of late begun to question our 'local' run and why other venues seemed to have more in the way of wildlife. That the sea breezes may detract or discourage the butterflies and that it was a while since anything of note had caught my eye. As if to prove a point, the run today was filled with way more than I expected. Hurray for the sunshine!

of course it is not always 100% pretty
there were several greenfly clouds to run through today

When we got to Marl Loch I was pleased to see what I later found out were 4 Spotted Chasers. Quite substantial dragonflies, I took a few photos. They kept their distance and the sun being bright on the camera screen I didn't really get a proper look at them till we got home. What I thought looked like buff or mustard drab brown colour from a distance turned out to be more of a splendid gold sheen up close with magnificent wings. Really outstanding creatures. They were buzzing over the water at great speed and flying in mated pairs. If they came close you could hear the rattle and clack of cellophane wings. Mary and I have been running past Marl Loch for maybe 8 years or more. It is a regular haunt and I have never seen these before. So my question is where do they hang out the rest of the time? And on years when it's not sunny (a traditional Scottish summer) do they just not emerge from the water? Some answers here. (Saddest fact: The adult stage is usually the shortest in the life-cycle and rarely lasts for more than a week or two in Britain.) Derek P was saying Saltoun Big Wood was also a venue to check out for dragonflies, so that's on the list of things to do next sunny day!

there were also lots of damselflies,
so small they are nearly invisible (to my fading eyes)

rather tattered peacock

amazing skies over the beach

After the run we got into wetsuits and had a quick swim. The water was defo warmer for the sunshine (particularly in the shallows) and after we came out we both had the briefest of dips having taken off wetsuits. It was bearable but still coolish, I had little inclination to stay in beyond a quick duck under and half a dozen strokes. However it was very pleasant to come out the water not with chattering teeth but to the warmth of a summer day's sunshine.

Mary re-enacting a scene from Jaws.

Great day and what a difference the sun makes. We've been very fortunate with the weather after a rather bleak and extended Winter. Fingers crossed for more of the same. Happy days!

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