This year’s Falls of Clyde young peregrine falcon chicks fledged on Lanark Lanimer’s Day (Thursday 9th June). Right from hatching, these two juvenile male birds have grown and developed at the same rate. When they were ringed, the licensed handler weighed them and found them to be the same weight and then they both took the great leap of fate into their new life on the wing within hours of each other. They can still be observed near the Hide on the wildlife reserve and the Scottish Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers try their best to keep the webcam trained on them as they perch around the gorge. Log on and have a look (www.swt.org.uk) or take a walk up and see them for yourself.
June brings the longest hours of daylight and as we approach the summer solstice the birds, insects and mammals, as well as plant life, revel in the sun’s energy. Soft pinks and pale yellows of wild roses gleam from hedgerows, orchids brighten meadows, foxgloves and wild clover buzz with bees. Many wildflowers are now blooming at their best and are easily picked out against vivid green foliage, or by their heady perfume.
Woundwort, (warning – looks very like a stinging nettle) has a strong, pungent aroma and small dark magenta flowers. Unlike honeysuckle or elderflower who have enchanting perfumes, woundwort’s acidic scent can be unpleasant. However, if the leaves are crushed and rubbed on your clothes or skin it repels midges. Even more usefully, woundwort can be used as a poultice for injuries and earned its name after being used successfully hundreds of years ago. We now know that the plant contains a volatile oil with antiseptic qualities.
Midsummer and elderflower go together. Folklore has it that the most auspicious time to encounter fairies was under an Elder bush on Midsummer’s eve. The frothy, creamy white flower heads of both Elderflower and Meadowsweet are at their best this month and were traditionally used to decorate marriage festivities. This was not just because of their sweet scent; an ancient name for Meadowsweet is “courtship and matrimony”, the beautiful, sweet smelling flowers being courtship, the sharp scent of its crushed foliage – reality of marriage!
For further information on all wildlife issues please contact the Scottish Wildlife Trust Falls of Clyde visitor centre, New Lanark 01555 665262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cherry – Visitor Centre Assistant