Sunday, 19 September 2010

Wandering, hoping to catch sight of…

… seals and fungi. Destination: Tenstsmuir beach and forest on the east coast of Scotland, just north of St Andrews in Fife. Yesterday, after an enjoyable late lunch at the picnic area beside the car park we headed through the forest…


Dabbled sunshine highlighted sap running out a mature pine tree and before we were even out of the forest car park my camera was out! You’ll see the sap by clicking on the photo above to enlarge it.

Following the path along the edge of the forest we saw butterflies (peacock and small white) and a common darter dragonfly. We were also seeing fungi, plenty of fungi, although I felt a little sad to see so many with their caps on the ground. I’m guessing people and animals walking by probably knock them off.

Fungi is not my area and although I did buy a pocket book for ID last year I really had no idea if what I was looking at was special or not. My photos are of the fungi that caught my eye on this visit.

In an effort to shorten postings a little, but at the same time share as many images as I can, I had fun with Photoshop6 for a while today. I don’t use any plug ins for creating images so it is case of experimenting with the settings and hoping I can repeat them for another time! A notebook is always at hand :-)

The montages below will enlarge bigger (when clicked on) than the single photos so you can see the detail of the fungi. Sorry I have no ID’s here... suggestions are welcome :-)

In the first montage below, I was trying to show that even in the sunnier parts of the forest you can easily walk pass fungi as it thrives in the moss and under blades of grass. I tended to notice the fungi more when it had nibbles out of it as the white would catch my eye.



The caterpillar shown in the image above was out in an open area of grass along the edge of the forest and my daughter did well to spot it. I might take a guess that this could become a peacock butterfly.

In the second montage below the background image has my daughter and husband walking in the distance. I wanted to show that throughout the darker parks of the forest fungi did bring colour with many different shapes and clusters too. Once again the nibbled fungi caught my eye.




On our visit on Saturday we followed the weaving, sandy paths on the edge of the forest too. Initially I thought this scattering of fungi shown below were stones on the sand. Practically no stem was visible however a few nibbles were and that made me take a closer look. I was surprised to see them growing in this sandy area.




Walking towards Tentsmuir Point and the beach (to hopefully see hundreds of seals basking on the sandbars) was where we were heading now. As it was getting late we decided to head out of the forest and try a quicker, more diagonal route across the many sandy paths…




Ah… we could just see the sea in the distance now.



Oh… were did it go? Don’t you just love the mood that changing the ratio of sky to land can create? I love the image below.



Finally, we could see the sea and the sand bars. We were out fully on the sandy beach now with scattered shells underfoot. The wind was blowing up the sand now too so just one photo here.



The video camera would have given a closer view but it stayed in my bag. Instead we looked at the seals through my compact binoculars. We could see some white seal cubs as well as the adults. You’ll only see the seals as dots in the photo above. They are in the middle of the photo on the darker brown strip of sand.

It was time to head back to the car park now. We took the shortest route back towards the forest talking care over wetter sand. Although I didn’t get the video footage of the seals I hoped to get we did see them in the distance. Maybe had we been there earlier and the tide was further out we could have had a closer view but you are advised not to get too close anyway.




On our walk back through the winding forest paths I spotted the fungi below. This was my favourite one of the day. I’ve no idea what it is but I loved the way it was growing out of the base of the tree stump showing the cycle of the nature with new life coming from old.



So with September past the midway point and the days getting cooler I’m wondering if you’ve been out wandering this weekend too. What have you been hoping to catch sight of?

Funnily enough in a search for links I discovered another blogger was visiting Tentsmuir on Saturday too. You can read of Juliet’s (aka the Crafty Green Poet) visit here. I’ll need to pop over to leave a comment now :-)

Oh wait just 42 seconds more… just thought on doing a YouTube search for seals at Tentsmuir/Kinshaldy beach and found the video below taken back on 29th September 2007. Lovely footage here. I did enjoy seeing this much closer view. Enjoy…


Video as shown on this YouTube page.


Guessing we’ll have to go back again now :-)

17 comments:

Gardeningbren said...

Oh I did enjoy this. Got all fired up about fungi about twenty years ago when we lived on the west coast of Canada..bought a book...had a lot of fun identifying..it really was great enjoyment and would recommend that or taking a mushroom walk locally..that is very popular now.

As for seals..what a coastline... Lovely day you had for sure and so pleased you wrote about it.

Shady Gardener said...

What a great post, Shirl! You must have had a wonderful time. Do you have a special program on your computer with which to make these montages?

Naturedigital said...

Great shots.
Have a great week.
Costas

shirl said...

Good Morning, Brenda. ‘Fired up about fungi’ love that. It would make a great post title too ;-)

Delighted you enjoyed this. I hoped you would. I spent some time searching for links on this one and funnily enough apart from the main site for Tentsmuir (which is a nature Reserve) I couldn’t find any fungi/mushroom groups here in Scotland. I only found a few in localised areas of England.

Your mushroom walks sound a great idea especially if you are novice like me too. I’ve just done a Google search ‘mushroom walk Scotland’ and see there are two events soon in areas driveable for me. Thanks for that idea! I have to check what the rest of the family are doing on these dates now. They aren’t likely to come with me… I’ll have to find a fungi friend ;-)

Yes, it is a pretty coastline there, quite flat but pretty all the same. Through my link searches I discovered a whole lot more wildlife I could have seen in this area. It’s a little bit of a drive. We first started visiting the area via the cycle route there. We always take a picnic. We really should visit a few more times before it gets too chilly :-D

shirl said...

Good Morning, Shady. Thanks, delighted you enjoyed this too. Yes we did. It was a great work de-stress for my OH too :-D

No, I don’t have a special montage programme. This was a new experiment. I have an old version of Photoshop (6) which I use mainly for cropping my images and bringing them down to a smaller file size. I have very basically used the curves graph to lighten/darken images if they need it too. It makes quite a difference to images I might not have used otherwise.

Basically, I am a novice with Photoshop but I do try to explore its features.Perhaps there is another way to do what I did with these montages. Although time consuming getting a layout I was happy with, it was quite a simple process.

For the montages shown in this post, I opened a background image and changed it using the filter settings, sketch, chalk and charcoal. I then cropped the photos I wanted to overlay. I opened the layers pallet and dragged the photos over on to my background. By experimenting, I worked out the pixel size for the cropping of these images so they would appear the size I wanted. One by one, I then used the free transform tool to move the images around. That took time, lots of time ;-)

I then saved my image as a Photoshop file in case I wanted to make any changes or use it again. I then flattened the final image to reduce the massive file size. I then cropped and saved that image (to reduce file size again) to a pixel size of 100 to have the larger image on my blog (when clicked to view) at a file much smaller than all photos would have been individually.

Oh dear… this might sound like I am an expert… honestly I’m not. I was thrilled with managing this though, absolutely delighted :-D

shirl said...

Hi again, Costas. Thanks, I had fun with them. Wishing you a great week too :-D

Midmarsh John said...

That was quite a collection of different fungi you found. Seeing the seal video clip reminds me it is time I re-visited our local seal colony.

Crafty Green Poet said...

oh what a lovely post, your photos are wonderful. How funny that we were both there at the same time! I'm not a fungi expert, though i know the best edible ones, so we could gather a few for eating!

How nice to see the seals, we didn't, though we did see a good variety of birds on the mud, the tide was very far out though so we didn't get particularly good views.

It's a place i want to spend more time in, there's so much to see in such a small area and its quite a trek from Edinburgh.

shirl said...

Good Morning, John. Yes, we saw quite a few varieties of fungi at Tentsmuir and I didn’t post all photos :-)

Ah… I guess you’ll be getting your video camera out to catch some video footage of the seals too. Look forward to seeing your local seal colony :-D

shirl said...

Hi again, Juliet. Thanks, I do enjoy wandering around Tentsmuir with my camera :-)

Yes, what fun to know we were visiting at the same time. I’ve no idea now what search brought me to your post but I’m delighted that it did :-)

Yes, I know very well the drive you might have from Edinburgh. It is a long and windy road too. I wish it was closer to us too.

Just to say, this morning I have myself exploring some of your links and discovered other bloggers in Scotland. I think I’ll follow your lead and add a blog list for Scottish Blogs. That way I won’t miss postings like this again and get a chance to see other visits around Scotland that my fellow Scottish blogger make. That will be fun. Thanks for the idea :-D

PurestGreen said...

So lovely to land on this blog. I love reading blogs by others who are passionate about Scotland. We went to Tentsmuir point earlier this year but did not spot any seals. The second montage you posted is my favourite. Will you be exploring the grand world of blackberries soon?

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This sounds like a perfect day out. A nice long walk, intersting fungi and those great hulk of seals. I enjoyed the video of them too. I have seen seals before but they were just lying in a lump. No one moving about. They look comical lumbering around.

Alex aus dem Gwundergarten said...

Great photos! I love fungis too, but I know only 4 - 5 kind of and I don't know the English names of them. Don't you have some one close to where you live, to whom you could show them? In our country we've got fungi controllers, who tell the people whether they could/should eat them or not :o). That's very practical.
I envy you a little bit, that you live so close to the sea. That's so beautiful!
Take care and greetings from Switzerland
Alex

Layanee said...

I love checking the woodland path for 'shrooms. They are all so different aren't they?

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Shirl - I can't believe how long it is since I had proper time for blogging - stuck inside with the rain and a poorly back you've got to try something positive!! Some really lovely shots of Tentsmuir - a place I've also been to but not the right time of year for seal pups... very pretty none the less - do hope you're well and that you've had a good summer with all your visiting birds and wildlife - will be back for a visit again v. soon Miranda x

shirl said...

Hi again Purest Green, Lisa & Layanne and hello Alex :-) sorry I’ve been slow with my replies.

Purest Green, Thanks for stopping by. Me too. Ah… don’t know if they are there then. Thanks, I did the second montage first and that was my fav too. Lol… not sure on the blackberries ;-)

Lisa, it was. We love visiting this area. Yes, in the distance we were unable to see if the seals were moving much. I agree, they were quite comical to watch in the video :-D

Alex, thanks for stopping by. Yes, I only know a few too. I guess I perhaps could find out if there are experts in my area. Never thought of that. I often refer to forums online when I’m stuck and take it from there with image searches. Fungi controllers sounds a good plan. Once again I have no idea if we have them here. Ah… I’m not so close to the sea but it isn’t too long a drive from here so I am lucky. I’m guessing you’ll be having cooler weather with you now. Enjoy your Swiss Autumn :-D

Layanne, yes I do agree. I bet you have many around your home and garden :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Miranda :-D Aw... sorry to hear about the rain and your bad back. I have back issues too so fully understand the 'pain' it can be. Hope it improves soon:-)

Yes, unfortunately the seals aren’t at Tentsmuir all year round. On the other side of this it is fantastic when you go (as we first did a few years ago) at the right time not knowing they were there! That was a wonderful surprise :-D

Yes, thanks we had a good summer. Didn’t get out in the garden as much as I would have liked so have some serious catch up now :-D

BTW From your latest posting I can see that your garden is looking great at the moment :-D