You might've read my last blog post about how I was welcomed to Scotland by a female Mallard and her ducklings within hours of landing. I was so happy about this experience and the friendliness of the locals near the Staging Post pub, that I decided to stay in this area longer. Luckily the pub had a spare room for a very good price, so I booked a few nights here and set myself up for more exploring. With the local wildlife being the target, of course!
|"Life will always find a way."|
Considering this was such a humanised setting, I didn't expect to come across the unique and wonderful animal which appeared next. After only a few more metres walking downstream, I disturbed a small passerine bird from among the rocks. Closer inspection through binoculars revealed it was a Dipper (Cinclus cinclus), a small songbird quite at home among the slippery pebbles and gushing rapids of freshwater streams across Great Britain. Here are a couple of distant photos of an adult Dipper - one minute he's there, the next he's gone! I was amazed to observe this bird and notice how quickly and efficiently it dips below the surface of the water, grabs prey (which includes aquatic insects and their larvae), then resurfaces, all in the blink of an eye!
|Now you see him...|
|...now you don't! The Dipper lives up to his name.|
A little further downstream I hit a dead end. Construction work blocked my way and Bucks Burn promptly diverted below ground into a culvert. It was time to leave the water behind and climb the embankment. I passed the remnants of an old tree-house, presumably built by local children, but sadly not occupied for many years. Is this a sign of a decreasing amount of children engaging with their environment through outdoor play?
I carried on walking away from the burn, and it was then I noticed what a beautiful valley I'd just been in, and how looking down on it gave a perfect view of the trees lining the burn, and emphasised how marvelous a setting this was. The blossoms of Bluebells and a few other plants I don't know the name of also were a reminder of how wonderful this time of year is.
If you recognise either of the two unnamed plants in flower, please comment below.
|Carpets of Bluebells are a sure sign of spring.|
|From a distance, Cherry Blossom is like snow decorating the canopy of the trees.|
|Despite being a weed, Golden Chain (Laburnum sp.) still creates a vibrant scene.|
|The tall trees lining Bucks Burn, with the construction site visible in the background.|