Friday, 3 June 2016

In search of Spring Squill

In search of Spring Squill - Becky discovered this flower in 2010 on one of her Islay coastal walks.  I remember seeing in on Oronsay many years ago and being captivated by its small beautiful blue star shaped flower and squiggly curling leaves.  It has taken me 6 years to finally find time to go in search of the Islay Squill.  With only one recent record of it south west of Saligo it is a relative rarity for Islay despite a general wide distribution through the nearby Hebridies.  The weather of late has been one of a perfect typical Islay Spring, dry and sunny, not like the rubbish cold and wet springs of the last couple of years, so long walks are a joy and with an excuse to get out Mandy (our centre manager) and I went on a quest.  There is so much to see, soon we saw a Marsh Fritillary butterfly, these are just beginning to emerge so look out for them over the next few weeks.   I will be looking forward to our first summer Sunday Ramble this weekend to Solam, near Ardbeg as we may get to see Marsh Frit.s too as I saw many caterpillars there at Easter.  Many flowers are out to enjoy, here's just some of the wonderous colour of last Sunday afternoon.


Small Copper butterfly on Trift


Common Dog Violet

Bird's Foot Terfoil (in bud)

Bird's Foot Terfoil (in bloom)

Cluster of Littorina saxatilis (rough winkle)

Finally after much walking I stumbled upon the perfect little blue flower on close cropped coastal pasture, 7 small flowering spikes only 6-7cm tall, then another 8 spikes on a separate patch.
Finally excitement, the treasure in our quest amongst the Tormentil and sheep dung

Spring Squill (Scillia verna)

A grand afternoon enjoying Islay's wonderful wildlife and weather.
Fiona MacG

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