Monday, 3 August 2015

Rain? What rain!

On a windy and rainy Sunday afternoon, 6 hardy souls braved the elements to join us for our weekly rAmble, this time at Currie Sands near Portnahaven. Suitably togged up for the weather, our enthusiasm wasn't dampened!

Let's run!

Down around Currie Sands we saw lots of lovely plants, including masses of Sea Holly which is found in only a handful of places on Islay, and Field Bindweed.

Sea Holly

Field Bindweed
Then we headed over towards the area overlooking Frenchman's Rocks, passing the location of the LIMPET wave generator which is now dismantled. You can still see the power of the sea though as it crashes up these deep and narrow gullies. And those that are drier are interesting too!

Gullies Galore!
Further on we came to an area looking up towards Lossit Bay, and down below we could see seals on the rocks - bit far away to see for certain whether they were grey or common seals, 

What can we see?

We also found the skull of a Fulmar! You can just about see why they call these birds Tube-noses. Once we've got all the gunk off it we'll add it to our skulls collection in the Centre.

In amongst the dunes here we saw more wildflowers, including Devil's Bit Scabious just coming into flower (so called because its root looks like something's bitten through it) and which is the food plant of the Marsh Fritillary butterfly's caterpillars. See below for full list of what we saw.
Devils' Bit Scabious coming into flower...

...and one that's flowered a little more
Finally we headed back to the beach to have a look along the shoreline, finding jellyfish, seaweeds and shells.
Moon Jellyfish

Sea Lettuce and more

Small periwinkle

A great time was had by all, and in the end the rain was hardly noticeable with so many interesting things to see! Our next one will be at Ardnave, details to follow - see you there! Mandy
Currie Sands looking towards Orsay lighthouse
Birds: Gannet, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Greater Black Backed Gull, Shag.
Plants: Sea holly, sea bindweed, sea rocket, sea milkwort, sea orach, bell heather, birdsfoot trefoil, devil's bit scabious, bog pimpernel, ling heather, ragwort, thrift, tormentil, silverweed, scentless mayweed, meadow vetchling, eyebright, hogweed, yarrow, an as yet unidentified domed umbelifer, red clover, white clover, ragwort, lady's bedstraw.
Insects: Bee, cinnabar moth caterpillar, soldier beetle.
Seaweed: Caragheen, spiral wrack, sea lettuce, Furbelows's holdfast, laver, toothed wrack.
Fungi: a jelly fungi.

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