A brace of elephant-hawks

I’ve been getting a bit behind writing the blog due partly to being on holiday with a lovely group of friends and therefore doing quite a lot of social eating and drinking. A lot of today was taken up with preparing for and then cooking a special celebratory meal for the group – the first time I have ever cooked a multi-course meal for 15 people! It went pretty well! I did manage the group walk in the afternoon, but I’ll let Brenda tell you about it below.

The dining room ready for our celebratory meal

Having got to 197 bird species the final three are currently eluding me and having been so far ahead of the flower total I’m now suddenly getting a small amount of concern that she is rapidly catching up….Fun though that it’s turned into more of a race!

Brenda writes: “It was a chilly night so there were only three moths in my trap, a nut-tree tussock and two white ermine. New moths for today in James’s traps were elephant hawk and small elephant hawk, clouded border, green silver-lines, map-winged swift, purple thorn and broom-tip, a moth he hasn’t seen for over 25 years.

elephant hawk-moth
map-winged swift
purple thorn

A group of us had another walk along the river Tay starting from the Hermitage car park, a stretch of the river which tumbles through a rocky stream bed with numerous waterfalls beside one of which we had our picnic.

There was an extraordinary piece of community art – a tree stump that had hundreds of coins stuck into it.

The “coin tree”

I had three new flowers on the walk. Globe flower could, on first sight, be mistaken for a poppy [I made this mistake. Steve] but is a member of the buttercup family.

globe flower

The other new ones were wood cranesbill and common figwort. I love the lupins in Scotland which flower profusely and saw some on the edge of some woodland.

wood cranesbill, with flower detail below
common figwort, with flower detail below

Back at Dungarthill I had a walk along the lane behind the house. I’ve been seeing foxgloves on roadsides but now the ones here are gradually coming into flower, one of many species whose flowers open from the bottom to top of the stem.


There was also some  lovely common cow-wheat, heath bedstraw and wild raspberries.

common cow-wheat
wild raspberry

New species for June 4th:
Moths: elephant hawk-moth, small elephant hawk-moth, clouded border, green silver-lines, broom-tip, map-winged swift, purple thorn
Flowers: globe flower, wood cranesbill, common figwort, common cow-wheat, heath bedstraw, wild raspberry