Mainly about the wild flowers of Fife


Kilmany, Logie, Forret Den

Sunday morning was beautiful and I explored a new walk which I hoped would take me to Forret Den, to look for Gagea lutea, Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem. I headed along the old railway line from Kilmany, enjoying the bird song and trees beginning to stir into life.

Then I walked along the edge of what had been a field of willows. All still rooted, so maybe another crop coming?

Up the road to Logie – steep, hot in the sun, but there was a lovely wee scilla halfway up, all dewy.

There were skylarks singing over the fields, and the views were great.

I love the colours at this time of year – just takes a bit of sun to show them off.

There was a larch full of cones but few buds, and next to it, a larch full of buds but no cones.

I started wondering about this, then saw an alder with magnificent catkins but few old cones next to one with lots of cones but scrappy little catkins.

Still wondering if this is a real thing, or a coincidence.

The view down the path was great.

Beautiful lichen colours.

And of course I couldn’t resist all the mosses…

Or this moss-covered farm building…

Somehow, though, I managed to walk right past Forret Den…so I went back today.

Sadly, no sign of Gagea lutea (abundant there in 1873, according to Mr Sadler who presented specimens to the Botanical Society of Edinburgh). Maybe too early, or maybe not there at all.

But I did find a rather nice Black Spleenwort fern.

There were also lots of promising leaves, so I might go back for another look later. The top of the den has been used for fly tipping, but the lower part was rather nice.

Spring flowers on the coastal path

Sunday was sunny and I parked at Boarhills and walked down the Kenly burn then along towards Kingsbarns. The burn was full after all the rain, roaring down to the sea.

The snowdrops are still going strong, great drifts of them along the banks. Obviously not bothered by the Giant Hogweed and Himalayan Balsam.

I passed a friendly robin, who posed for a few photos.

Investigated the ruined mill building, now a home for Hart’s-tongue fern and ivy.

Further along, the Hart’s-tongue ferns appeared to be staging an invasion, with a few snowdrops for company. Beautiful.

I walked along wondering if the Himalyan Balsam is really such a problem when there are so many other plants that take over too, given a chance. Dog’s Mercury, for one – it was out in flower.

The breakers were rolling in at the mouth of the burn.

No unusual birds there today, but a group of six redshanks was there among the mallards and black-headed gulls.

Along the path were the first of the lesser celandines.

And coltsfoot (with ruff of sepals).

And scurvygrass – common or Danish, did I ever sort it out?

The rocks along there are wonderful, weird shapes and patterns. This one looked like plant cells.

This one looked as if it might be a huge fossilized plant.

I stopped to watch and listen to a group of birds on the wire fence above the beach. There were definitely yellowhammers.

I wasn’t sure about the others, but knowledgeable friends pointed me to the Twite.

I’ve never knowingly seen a Twite before!

There was the occasional clash between the two species, with mid-air challenges.

Cold at Tentsmuir

On the way up to Kinshaldy, there were two lapwings, wonderful. The beach was deserted and freezing, with a cold little wind.
The dunes were more sheltered, still in their winter bleakness but I like that.
It makes things like this little clump of fresh polypody leaves stand out.
There was lots of moss to look at (identity of this one not yet worked out).
The top of this tank barrier was a landscape all of its own.

The lichen on the dunes looked cold.
The gorse looked cold.
A skylark and a stonechat livened things up, and I think I got a glimpse of the sea eagle flying into the wood. But I was glad of my furry hood and walked back planning to get the fire lit as soon as possible.

February beach walk

It was SO good to get out for a walk – feels like it’s been weeks, what with weather, work and general one-thing-or-another. It was a day of hazy, misty sunshine down at Lower Largo.

There were banks of shells where the waves had tidied them into a heap. A lot seemed to be half open, not the usual half shells. When I bent down to photograph these, I could hear a faint but steady noise, not quite a crackle or a trickle but just as if the shells were settling.

I liked this barnacle-crusted razor shell.

And I liked these sea things – a shell-studded sand mason worm cylinder, a coral tree, and a wiggly thing.
The beach was empty and the peace was wonderful.
There’s been some erosion since I was here last.
Just when I’d almost given up hope, there was a group of sanderlings. Other birds today were a kestrel, and a shag – well, after much studying of pictures on the internet, I think it’s a shag not a cormorant.

I went right out onto Ruddon’s point as the tide was low. Out to sea, there was a group of ducks – I took a long-range picture on the off-chance, and think they might be wigeon.



Coming back, investigated this weird white thing on the beach – creepy looking “hand” coming out of it!
Then there was the moss…loved the moss on this tank trap.
Think this one might be Orthotrichum anomalum.

Coming back, the sun disappeared. But I saw my first primrose of the year, so I didn’t care.

Winter birds

Just time for a short stroll round Birnie/Gaddon on Sunday, where the lochs were still half-frozen.
These two were having some difficulty, slipping and sliding as they walked on the ice.
I passed close by to a bullfinch, and then had several minutes chat to a robin as I tried to photograph the hazel catkins.
There was a flock of siskins swooping around the tree tops – just a few blurry photos, but there must have been dozens of them.


Then there was an alder full of goldfinches.
I resisted all the moss, as my kitchen table is still covered with little bits of green stuff.

January skies

Out on the coastal path at Elie on Sunday, all was quiet – both weather and walkers.

There was a low bank of cloud on the other side of the Forth, with Berwick Law silhouetted.
Has the sand has retreated? – I thought these rocks used to have sand all around them.

Plantwise, I found red campion, groundsel, and a couple of Sea Mayweed flowers.
And beautiful gorse, of course.
I saw this plant mohican.
The birds were queuing up to be spotted. Yellowhammer, linnets, grey wagtail, stonechat, reed bunting – but no kestrel.

The sea scapes stole the show though.

Remember April?

Going through my photographs, looks like I meant to put these into a blog for 21 April 2016. Better late than never?
The disappointing cave.
Cave gate.









January colour

In my mind, January is a grey, brown, bleached out sort of month. But yesterday the sun was shining and there was colour to be seen.

I walked down from Leuchars to the estuary, through the sunlit trees.


Loved the pale matt green contrast on the underside of the holly leaves.

Lichen glowing in the sun.

This little ragwort was the only flower I found, apart from the gorse.
The walk got a bit “adventurous” after that…

Kingsbarns coast in late December

It was great to get some good sunshine today after our dark, wet, windy Christmas. And along at Guardbridge, there were…
Pussy willows! Getting there, anyway.

I went along the coastal path from Kingsbarns to the Kenly burn. The sun and the waves made the sea all blue silver and gold, and there were some dramatic effects.

Wave about to break, with spray being blown back.
Then the full exploding fountain.
The only flower I saw was a red nettle, with only a blink of petal showing. There were lots of birds: turnstones, redshanks, mallards and wigeon. And a solitary cormorant at the water’s edge.

Lovely pebble, with little bits of coral near it.

I stopped to look at lots of moss, and was intrigued by this green stuff growing on a beach rock. Moss or seaweed?


Seeing the close-ups, it’s got to be seaweed, but it made me realise how little I know about mosses. But I don’t think they would grow below the tideline.

Tentsmuir moss

A couple of weeks ago I was down at Tentsmuir on this kind of a day.
I think I now recognise this moss, but still not 100% sure on the ID. But I’ll stick my neck out and say Pleurozium schreberi, Red-stemmed Feather-moss.
Then there was this one, on top of an old pine stump.
Best guess is Leucodon sciuroides, Squirrel-tail moss.


Saw it again last week, at Bankhead.