This was a few days ago. 16th May. I've been dating recent blogs because I am getting behind with them - unable to find the time while getting out in the sunshine, and can't remember much in detail about them by the time I get writing them up. I might just have to make up stuff to match the pics.
So I went round to my mum's and cut the grass. I was on my way to Dalmeny to see if the small coppers had arrived. It was sunny and there seemed a good chance, though it was early. My fellow butterfly enthusiasts (down South) online all post pics of species that won't be emerging here for weeks yet. This thunder stealing was at first irritating but now I realise gives me time to prepare for the locals here to appear, and where I should be standing to get the best photos. I say emerge but they could fall from the sky or arrive in an amazon box for all I know. My mum was okay thanks for asking but is having a hard time of it these days and is currently back in hospital, third time this year. Her garden has been somewhat neglected recently but I took some photos of the flowers.
the house and garden I grew up in
I find this compelling without being able to say why
So I probably left it a little late to go butterfly hunting but a cycle to Dalmeny would fill some of the day with exercise and be quicker than running. I really like the artistry of the graffiti below which unlike most of the genre has a really light sketchy touch. Not easy on that scale - prob about 12' tall and 30'+ long. (Huge!) Under one of the bridges Pilton/Blackhall(?) on the cyclepath.
When I got down to Dalmeny I realised it wasn't quite as warm as I hoped. Or rather there was a chill wind that the fluttery people might not like. I get sick of carrying an unused jacket in my backpack on brighter days and thought I'd leave it at home being sunny and warm today. Huh.
This female pheasant nearly ran under my front wheel. Then didn't scurry off into the bushes. For a second I wondered why, then heard peeping from the undergrowth all around as mamabird tried to look all innocent and "chicks, no don't be silly, I'm just here by myself."
there had to be a dozen balls of fluff all scurrying for cover
When I got to the venue the cold wind said no chance of seeing Small Coppers, one of my all time favourites, despite their tiny selves being problematic, and a bit tricky to get decent pics. I parked the bike and skulked around looking for other things to take pics of. A shiny green fly offered his services, and I was thrilled by his startling combination of sports car polish and horror movie fur.
Not sure what was causing the heat ripples in the above pic, but I like them. Think it might be the wind, or chemicals evaporating from the stream. There were four ducks on the shells and they took the situation in and reluctantly moved a few hundred metres down the beach like sulky teens. The shelly estuary had been completely blocked by the last high tide shovelling shells to enclose the stream but the encroaching tide was washing a new stream in from the Forth. It is different every time I am here. I found a pink plimsole which I thought made a good pic, but nothing more. Initially. Sometimes there are strange and slightly alarming things here. I don't know if everything gets washed here from elsewhere or whether there is a direct outlet from hell, or at least a nearby cemetery. But I have tried to ignore much of it. For instance the severed deer's head. I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation. And the seabird just along, in the grass. Just lay down for a sleep, a last long sleep. That's cool. But a dead tortoise. I mean what the effing fuck?? I can only imagine someone put it in a bin and Mr Foxy brought it here for a snack but couldn't get the wrapper off. A tortoise? I'm presuming it didn't crawl here.
I flipped it over, just be glad I didn't post the photo.
I had a bit more of a wander but really wanted to curl up behind the driftwood wind break. No coppers today and I doubt any amount of wishing them here will work. But the atmosphere of the place worked it's magic and on the way back I abandoned my bike all over the trail to hunker down and shoot an orange tip on dandelions. The light was great and the butterfly most obliging.
I think I probably go into a near trance-like state when taking pics of butterflies. One eye on the subject, one eye on the screen and one eye... hang on. So I was totally absorbed in the process and Mr. O Tip still hadn't finished dancing over the dandelions. And I hear this distant voice saying "Maisie don't do that, come away from there" about the same time I feel a wet nose lightly graze the exposed small of my back. Maisie, the luckiest dog in the world (or at least Dalmeny), ambled off and I'm proud to say I keep all my eyes on the business in front. The dog owner arrived as the butterfly departed and we exchanged pleasantries. She lived in the row of cottages nearby, and I got to ask the question that always went round my head when I considered them. (Because it will save time when I win the lottery.) What is the wifi like? I think the answer was as you'd imagine, but that Barnbougle was offering a cable or similar from their recently upgraded package to make their broadband life more liveable. Maisie it turned out was rescue dog, and how lucky for her that she scored top marks at the interview and now gets to live in doggy heaven. Maybe she knows something about the tortoise? I didn't absolutely concentrate on the chit chat, partly distracted by orange tips, teasingly landing nearby and flaunting it. Also, and this was troubling me, there was something familiar about that footwear...
I cycled back up the Almond to the bridge and then back down to Cramond. On the way I was distracted by more orange tips around some sunlit bluebells. I suppose there has to be a limit to the amount of them required to tell the story. Hah! You should see the amount of photos I took. I think I mostly have got them out my system. Let's hope so. Lovely day out, except maybe for the tortoise.