Saturday 30th June and the sun is blasting down again. This is the Scottish Summer we never get, the one we'll be talking about like we talk about that one in 1976. And the wildlife seem to know it was coming, they have been abundant. I have been neglecting work in favour of life. It is going really well! Smiley face emoji.
The new Falko's is shaping up and is going to be something similar to the old Falko's. (Meanwhile Falko's in Haddington seems to be benefiting from their new venue so no skin off their nose). The new baker/deli is called goose on the green and last I spoke to the folk working there they were planning to be open for the Open. (Any day now - 12th July.)
I think these were the first Red Admirals of the year. Very jolly to have them back. Despite their funny little faces I have a real warm spot for RAs in my heart as after August last year they were nearly the only thing around giving me a butterfly hit when everything else had gone to ground. I could go along to the botanics where they huddled in large numbers on certain flowers and get a fix of butteryness to keep me going through the autumn. And could be seen on warm days even in early November in East Lothian. Nationally they had an excellent year in 2017.
Good to see old pals the Burnet moths about too. They are striking in their black capes with scarlet spots and regulars on the John Muir Way as we run along the golf course to Aberlady. Usually 5 spot here and then over the bridge more often 6 spot. Slightly fewer than I expected by the golf course this year but larger numbers on the coast.
I saw Mary's brain ticking over as she hauled a chunk of Galium aparine out the field with an idea of sharing it with me. Also known as cleavers, (I like that!) bort, bedstraw, goosegrass, catchweed, stickybud, robin-run-the-hedge, grip grass, stickeljack and STICKYWILLY. Time to fly as hoka say.
If life is getting too easy try taking a decent photo of one of the drab browns - a Meadow Brown (above) or Ringlet (below) Far more tricky to get a spectacular photo of those than a naturally spectacular Fritillary. They have both been superabundant this summer particularly the latter.
The Ringlet is Kinglet.
We didn't hang about for any time at Marl Loch. I knew there was a good chance the Dark green fritillaries would be out and knew the limit of Mary's patience vs the skittish-ness of the DGFs. Tricky combo that could easily end in (my) tears.
They are right up there in the all-time top 5 beauties category and when freshly out in bright sunshine are just dazzling. There were more about than I have ever seen at Aberlady but they were not landing very often and then only for very little time before lifting off and soaring a football field on the breeze and forget it. Just got the one pic above before I thought I'd pushed my luck far enough and should check in with the boss.
She was on the beach by the time I caught up. Also on the beach was a swathe of little pink purple flowers that appear at this time between the dunes and high tide line and attract wayward butterflies. First a Small Tort, but then as I moved about to get the right angle on that, I noticed a Dark Green, AND it was busily nectaring and hadn't noticed me holding my breath and creeping up. I was so excited I nearly blew it and had to have strong words about being calm and getting the shot. I had enough time to shoot a wee bit of pretty bad 4K video but it was sufficient to extract a wings up frame (below) which is moderately rare as they like to sit with their wings firmly down and out.
That put me in a splendid mood as did the run along one of the best beaches in Scotland that was almost deserted because it is 1.5 miles from the car park. Brilliant. Then around Gullane Point and the place was surprisingly busy with common blues, burnets and fritillaries. Virtually none were landing and posing for the camera which was a tad frustrating. But it was fun seeing them all flying about in perfect weather for admiring the surroundings; and Mary seemed happy to stand around also taking pics of the landscape and flowers.
frit and blue, neither resting
6 spot burnet
Mary in front of Arthur's Seat!