Some years ago, a tree stump covered in goose barnacles washed up below Islay Farmers outside Bowmore. Lots of them had opened up showing their filtering tentacles, and which, from their slightly feather-like structure, presumably helped convince the monk that they had some connection with birds. Hundreds of years ago, the Barnacle Geese used to arrive on the west coast of Ireland (where the monk lived) and Scotland in the autumn and depart in the spring and no-one knew where they went. So he was really being quite inventive in suggesting that they came from the goose barnacles. As an unintended consequence, the devout Catholics of western Ireland chose to regard the Barnacle Geese as fish rather than fowl, which thus allowed them to eat the geese on Fridays and during Lent!
This is a blog of natural history notes maintained and moderated by members of the management committee of the INHT: Fiona MacGillivray, Martin Armstrong, David Webster, Andrew Kent, Isobel Freeman, Bernard Hannett, Danielle Vessey and Alistair Hutchison, and our Centre Managers, Mandy and Fiona assisted by Beth and Jenny.
We hope that many people, both those who live here and visitors, will contribute their notes and impressions of the natural world on Islay. Please send to:
Photographs, or even short video clips, are particularly welcome.
We look forward to hearing from you
Fiona MacGillivray, Chairperson
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