Do you enjoy a walk on the beach? Do you find you can’t resist collecting seashells? Do you wonder what they all are?
I have been inspired since working on the display of shells at the Islay Natural History Trust (INHT) visitor centre many years ago to build up a collection of shells, most gathered from Islay. So far I have recorded just over 110 species from Islay’s beaches and 129 in total from across the UK. These range from the big Iceland Cyprina (up to 12 cm) which can live up to 100 years, the small but beautifully ornate Pheasant Shell to the tiny yet common Turtonia minuta (barely 2mm) which you probably unknowingly are walking all over, mixed up in the sand under your feet.
I will be running a workshop and short talk at the Islay Natural History Trust centre on Sunday 4th September from 2-4pm (donations welcome). If you have an interest and would like to learn about some of the shells you have found anywhere in Britain, bring them along and get some tips on identification techniques. There’ll also be an opportunity to use microscopes and the chance to get your hands stuck in shell-sand. We’ll be looking at other beachcombing finds too – so bring along your other strandline treasures as well.
Why not go beachcombing at your leisure sometime before and bring along your specimens?
If you have a collection of your own from Islay or further a field then please do get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org). I would very much like to compare specimens and see if you have species missing from my list. I am looking at photographing as many species as possible of all qualities, as a representation of all conditions likely to be found which will help aid identification.