July 2017
July 2017 - Summer senses

After a warm and hot May, the weather in June took a slightly wetter turn. While the garden did not complain, it did limit my photographic plans for the month. We still managed to find some heat though; a trip to visit family in Gloucestershire must have been on one of the hottest weekends of the year with blazing sun and no breeze. Nevertheless it was simply perfect for the Moreton-in-Marsh music festival and we enjoyed a local ceilidh band playing Scottish jigs some 300 miles south of the border!

Dodging the rain and the storms, I did manage a couple of evenings' photography on the Forth estuary. In fact one of those ventures produced a glorious sunset and afterglow which, combined with the long evening light as midsummer's day approached, kept me out until past 11pm. The view back down the Firth of Forth from North Berwick was unmissable - complete with lighthouse shining on Fidra.

The sunny spring gave wild flowers a fantastic start to the season and poppies are sprouting everywhere in the garden. Corncockles in our wild flowers display are glorious just now (see image) and complement the colours of the marigolds, cornflowers and poppies. There is something very uplifting about the riot of colour from a flower meadow and I enjoyed seeing fields swathed with buttercups throughout June.

Seabirds are also in abundance just now with young fledging and making their first ventures to sea. For cliff-nesting chicks this can literally be a mammoth leap of faith as they jump off a ledge and, on a 'wing and a prayer', hope that they land in water rather than crash onto rocks. This is all part of nature and the trials simply to exist. I look forward to seeing this at first hand in July with trips booked to the Isle of May and Bass Rock.

The summer heralds the start of the 'show' season! I spent several days at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh which remains the largest agricultural show in Scotland and is always a highlight of any year. This followed on from the popular Gardening Scotland show which also seems to attract much interest. However it was encouraging to see how many conservation organisations were present across both shows; everything from bugs, plants, woodlands, birds, mammals and bees were represented. If wildlife is to survive against competing demands for land and dwindling habitat, it's crucial that they are represented on these type of occasions.

As Springwatch disappeared from our television screens, so did the Great tit chicks from their nest box in the garden. Every year they nest and fledge to our enormous satisfaction - and allows us to play a very small part in helping nature survive in today's hectic world.