Water of Leith

May 2024 - April flowers

At last, a break in the weather! April went out in a blaze of sunshine even if the nippy wind kept temperatures low. Nevertheless it was wonderful to experience blue sky and dry conditions to benefit both humans and vegetation alike. Not only does it picked up one’s mood but trees and flowers are now blossoming bringing some long-awaited colour.

I spent some time with the wild flowers in a wood on the edge of Edinburgh. Wood anemones were my principle target as I wanted to build up a variety of images featuring them. Like snowdrops, the white petals give a ‘purity’ to the flowers and offset the anemone’s delicate yellow stamens beautifully. Although I only had a small cluster to work with, it is amazing how one can work one’s way around them to find a different composition each time. Elsewhere, primroses and wood sorrel were abundant which, of course, couldn’t be ignored!

An overdue visit to the Water of Leith - and along a stretch that I hadn’t visited in years - produced a variety of abstract pictures of flowing water. The river was running nicely - neither too full nor empty - and stones stood proud of the surface to provide an ‘anchor’ for the photographs. I was also entertained by a territorial feud between two dippers as they settle on ‘ownership’ rights of the stretch ahead of the breeding season. Although they were too far away to photograph with the lens I was using, it did allow me just to sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

An evening visit to North Berwick for some sunset pictures didn’t quite work out as planned. A strong, cool wind and gathering cloud made for trying conditions and I had to settle for shots of the Bass Rock and Craigleith in those fleeting minutes when the sun dips between the cloud base and the horizon. You can’t win them all!

A trip over the Lammermuir Hills in April is always a joy as the red grouse are displaying to attract females. They enlarge their red eyebrows and occupy prominent positions in hope of impressing the hens. Some kind weather can be crucial for their breeding success. However, I was also heartened to see a hen harrier on the moor. So often persecuted, new legislation has now stiffened the consequences for intentionally killing these birds and hopefully we shall see them return to their natural habitat to live alongside the resident grouse.

An evening walk near Dalkeith to inspect a bluebell wood showed them to be coming on nicely but still a week or two away from their full glory. Finding five roe deer along the way was a treat but just listening to the bird song as the sun went down made a fitting end to the day and a realisation at how special nature can be.