Edinburgh Natural History Society


Excursion to the Clink & Auchtermuchty Common
- August 29th, 2009

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Not having visited the area before and with the date set in late summer, was perhaps risking a mishap. As it transpired, although there was a brisk breeze, the sun shone and a good attendance of knowledgable members meant many observations made and comments flowing freely. The morning was spent in the Clink, which is the eastwards extension of Pitmeddan Forest and the afternoon in the Auchtermuchty Common.
Picnic at Glassarts Den community woodland on the edge of Pitmeddan forest.
A moth of late summer, the Brown Line Bright Eye on Knapweed. ( not to be confused with the Bright Line Brown Eye)
Amongst the prettiest of flowers is the Common Toadflax, abundant on the common.
Every common should have its Romany caravan ! In keeping, horses are used to graze the common between November and March to keep woody plants at bay.
Butterflies are surveyed regularly on the common. The Painted Lady pictured is a newly emerged imago nectaring on Field Scabious. It is only about twelve weeks ago that the parental generation were arriving, looking very battered, from Spain and N. Africa.
Also a migrant and a strong flier, the Silver Y moth was also present on the common grasslands.
This colourful gall is known as the 'Robin's Pincushion'. Caused by a small wasp called Diplolepsis rosae every rose bush seemed to have one.
Hoverflies abounded, even in the wind. Marmalade flies were the most common but the Large Bog Hoverfly in the picture was the biggest one to be seen.
Knopper galls on Oak are a new phenomenon for our generation, the wasp responsible, only arrived in the UK in about 1960. The oaks on the common had many types of gall on them including two different Spangle galls, current galls and marble galls.
Photographs: N. Crowther.
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This page was last updated on 21/9/09.