Thursday, 7 May 2015

May Appearances

With the cuckoo busy in the woodlands at the back of the crofts along Ormsaigbeg - he's seen here on Cruachan croft - it's appropriate....

....that this pretty little flower is appearing along the verges and in the fields which haven't been cropped too hard by the sheep.  It's cuckoo flower, Cardamine pratensis, also known as lady's smock.

Along the beach, just inland from the zone occupied almost exclusively by the hardy thrift, is this scurvy-grass, Cochlearia officinalis, in flower.

In rocky places inland, we're finding the first eggs and bacon plants, or birdsfoot trefoil, Lotus corniculatus.  They'll be out in masses shortly.

The insects have yet to come to life in any numbers.  Happily, the reports of midges coming out exceptionally early this year have gone away, so we're left with the occasional friendly beast, like this little hover fly who sat happily on my knee while I ate a picnic lunch.

We found this tree near the banks of the Allt Ockle, and wondered how it managed to grow such a twisted truck.  Has anyone any suggestions?


  1. Light, wind, snow, and availability to water and nutrients are the obvious primary causes of a twisted trunk. Also, some trees have a genetic disposition towards having a twisting grain. Sometimes this even changes orientation - one year it grows to the right, the next to the left! This is called interlocking grain, and gives the trunk greater stability in winds. Since this tree seems to be on its own, I'd suspect maybe the wind has something to do with it?

    1. Many thanks for this. One lives and learns! Certainly, it was in a very exposed position high on a slope in a glen which would funnel the cold northerly winds. The slope might also affect the nutrients available to it. Jon

  2. Is the heavy scarring a cause or an effect of the contortion? If the scar was formed by deer grazing moss and lichen from the trunk it could be the cause. The other mossy branches we can see indicate that the scar is north facing so it probably had a healthy beard of moss itself untill the deer removed it and the bark it grew on.
    Is the white material infilling the scar a fungus?