St Margaret's Hope, with a sprinkling of Snow.

All of these pictures on these pages have the Latin names included where possible. Some images are sent to the appropriate Facebook Group, for identification, these include, Orkney Wild Flowers and their habitat, Orkney Fungi & Lichen, Orkney Insect open Forum, UK Hoverfly Group, plus a few more. Date & Location, including 10 figure UK Grid reference, are given for most posts. Some locations just say The Hope; this is St Margaret's Hope, on South Ronaldsay, My Home. Where there are Comments; these are from experts, from the various groups.

The content for February is, unfortunately, a bit limited, There are a few reasons for this, first, the weather which for most of the month was bitter cold with temperatures well below freezing with a strong Northerly wind, making photography almost impossible and keeping the wildlife very hard to find. Towards the end of February, I suffered an injury to my right knee which limited my ability to get out and missing the opportunity to photograph the first decent fall of snow in the last ten years, more about this later.

As I mentioned above we have had some snow, you would think this is not unusual living at the top of Scotland but in fact, it is, Orkney is in the enviable position of receiving far less snow than say the southwest of England we get frost and plenty of wind and rain, we get the occasional frosting of snow but nothing more, the last time the snow lasted more than a day was over ten years ago, this time as fast the council cleared the roads of snowdrifts they had to start all over again.

We were fortunate in the Hope as the strong winds kept the snow on the move, but took the temperature even lower. 

Thursday 04 ‎March ‎2021, Footpath to the Ruff, St Margaret's Hope.

Colt's-foot - Tussilago farfara,  My 1st flower of spring.


Each stem has a solitary flower between 15 and 30mm in diameter made up of numerous narrow rays surrounding central disc florets. The pinkish stems, which are covered in scales, appear before the large heart-shaped leaves. The square-section stems are reddish at first, paling to green as the flowers develop. Where the leaf-stalk attaches to the leaf there is a u-shaped bract that was thought to resemble the foot of a colt; this may be the origin of the English common name, Rather like Dandelions, the seeds of a Colt's-foot flower form a 'clock' (formally referred to as a pappus), each individual seed having its own hairy parachute. Clouds of these little parachutes are distributed upon the breeze.

One of the first flowers of spring.

The leaves appear after the flowers.

Ranunculus ficaria - Lesser Celandine. Thursday 04 March 2021

St Margaret's Hope.


Instantly recognisable by its bright glossy yellow flowers, Ranunculus ficaria has a variable number of petals. While eight to ten petals are typical, we have found individual Lesser Celandine flowers with as many as 13 petals.  Each flower stalk bears a single flower,

Distribution Lesser Celandine is a very common and widespread spring wildflower throughout Britain and Ireland. This plant is also found across most temperate regions of Europe and Asia

A favourite of Wordsworth,

Lesser Celandine is one of the first wildflowers to bloom. In fact, the 21st of February is known as "Celandine Day" as this is when peak flowering has been observed to begin. 1795, the renowned naturalist Gilbert White noted that the first celandines usually appeared in his Hampshire village of Selborne on this date and a similar result has been noted over the centuries ever since.

There's a flower that shall be mine, "Tis the little Celandine. William Wordsworth, "To the Small Celandine"

Monday 08 March 2021.

The weather brightened up a bit today, so decided to have a wander around the local area to see what was about, not much as it turned out, a few signs of spring growth but nothing worthy of a picture until I passed the Smiddy museum, it was then I remembered one of the locals mentioned a pond in the small community garden behind the museum, as soon as I opened the gate a few birds flew up from the side of the pond the surface of which a swirling mass of Frogs as they dived for cover so I crouched down low and waited. 


The common frog (Rana temporaria)

The common frog (Rana temporaria)

Monday 08 March,2021.  Winter Colour.

This time of the year, one is hard pushed to find enough content to fill out the month, so you have to expand /widen your  interests.

Two images are of Birch sp, & the other two I think are Willow.

Friday 12 March 2021

I found this growing on a small Birch tree, at first I thought it was a Fungi, but after a few hours with reference books and time on Google,  I was no closer to an identification, so posted it on the Orkney Fungi page. The consensus is that is possibly a mould of some sort.