Scottish Canals, Winter Dec 2012 Falkirk Wheel Big April Adventure ?
Flora & Fauna

Mute Swan

Every canal in Scotland has some mute swans enjoying the laid back life on the water.

Flora & Fauna

Otter

Rivers and rocky or coastal areas are the otters’ natural habitats, but they can also be spotted hunting their prey in quiet stretches of the canals.

Flora & Fauna

Common Poppy

The common poppy – sometimes called ‘headwark’ as its heady odour was thought to cause headaches – is a lovely looking flower, and a pretty addition to towpath sides. They love disturbed ground – a reason why they became such a common sight between the trenches of the western front in WW1.

Flora & Fauna

Kingfisher

A flash of sapphire is all you’re likely to see of this bird – a very good sign of the clean water it needs to hunt for fish and aquatic insects.

Flora & Fauna

Common Hogweed

Common hogweed is on full show during late summer – its ‘umbel’ (like an umbrella) of flowers providing nectar for many species of insect. The tender shoots are fantastic eating when picked early in the year and sautéed in butter – boiled plant stems were an old cure for rheumatism in cattle.

Flora & Fauna

Peacock Butterfly

The Peacock Butterfly is a familiar site along the canal corridors and is easily spotted, with the spectacular eyes on the upperside of the hindwings that give this butterfly its name.

Flora & Fauna

Meadowsweet

The fluffy flowers of Meadowsweet look and smell lovely during late summer – enjoying damper ground. It served a purpose in days gone by as a ‘strewing herb’ – strewn across floors where its crushed scent could be released into the room. In the late 1800s salicin was developed from the plants juices and was given the name ‘aspirin’ by the pharmaceutical industry. It makes a great wine – the kick and the cure all in one bottle!

Flora & Fauna

Grey Heron

Another creature commonly found along the canalside, the grey heron has a diet mainly of fish. But did you know that they also eat small birds such as ducklings, small mammals like voles, and amphibians?

Flora & Fauna

Beaver

The Scottish Beaver Trial began in May 2009 when 3 beaver families were released into the wild at Knapdale. Since settling in to their new home, the beavers have been busy constructing lodges and building dams, swimming in the local lochs, and even taking the occasional dip in the Crinan Canal.

Flora & Fauna

Common Toad

The Common Toad is a widespread amphibian found throughout Britain and prefers deep water bodies in which to breed, including fish ponds, farm ponds, reservoirs or canals. They have rough, ‘warty’ skin and tend to crawl rather than hop.

Flora & Fauna

Vipers Bugloss

Vipers bugloss is a tall and striking plant which, in the language of flowers, stands for falsehood – snakes given a bad name once again! Painted lady butterflies love the nectar rich flowers and the leaves are shaped as the Greek derived name suggests – ‘bou’ meaning ox and ‘glosso’ meaning tongue.