Muir of Dinnet

Today we headed south from the house to a large country mansion near Dunkeld which I booked almost two years ago for a week’s retreat with several of our friends, the excuse (if one were needed) being to celebrate my upcoming 60th birthday.

A Pictish stone near Dinnet

On the way there we stopped for a walk at a woodland nature reserve near Dinnet: It was a spur of the moment stop, but absolutely the right choice as the woodland was full of wildlife. Brenda immediately found several new flowers and I was hearing, and seeing, lots of willow warblers and other song birds. There were buzzards wheeling overhead and I heard, and then got glimpses of a tree pipit, which finally – and rather obligingly – perched at the top of a tree so that I could see it a little better!

A juvenile common buzzard near Dinnet

I also got lovely views of both song thrush and mistle thrush, and I think this is the first time I have ever managed a photo of a mistle thrush.

A mistle thrush with a spot of lunch
Part of the woodland near Dinnet

When we arrived at our venue for the next week or so we were delighted to find that it had superb grounds which I’m sure we’ll be writing about in the coming days. Brenda put her moth trap out and there’ll be more moth help coming as James will be here from tomorrow to spend the week with us.

Brenda writes: “Today there were three moths in the trap and a fourth on the ground. This latter was a thorn and discussion with James is ongoing about whether it was a lunar or purple. All we have is a photo as I let it go, and I won’t count it unless he is convinced. There was no doubting the garden carpet and also a new one for the year, a pale prominent.

pale prominent

As for the fourth, a pug, I have no idea – they are so hard to identify!

Today was wonderful for flowers. As we headed through the Cairngorms there was a high point where I saw daffodils and primroses. I saw two new species on roadsides, ramsons, also known as wild garlic, which has white flowers and smells strongly of garlic, and tuberous comfrey which is like soft comfrey but with longer flower heads which are pale yellow.

tuberous comfrey

We stopped for a walk at Muir of Dinnet and I was instantly engrossed in flowers – only catching up with Steve as he was turning back! Pignut is an umbellifer similar to cow parsley but with skeletal leaves.


The wild form of cranberry could be mistaken for bilberry but has pale pink bellflowers.


I saw several dog violets and my first tormentil of the year. It has yellow flowers like the cinquefoils but only has four petals.

common dog violet

Checking some bright blue milkwort I saw the leaves were opposite so it was heath milkwort. The star of the walk was chickweed wintergreen which grows in woodland and has a white star-like flower with six petals.

chickweed wintergreen

After supper we had a walk in the grounds of the mansion where we’re staying and saw bugle down by the pond and yellow pimpernel. Catching up… 


New species for May 31st:
Birds: tree pipit
Moths: pale prominent
Flowers: ramsons (wild garlic), tuberous comfrey, pignut, cranberry, common dog violet, tormentil, heath milkwort, chickweed wintergreen, bugle, yellow pimpernel