Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Sunday ramble - Solam 'plague' village 5th June 2106

A report on our walk to Solam our first Sunday ramble of the season, better late than never!

A very sunny, warm day for our first walk of the season up to the old village of Solum.  Our small band of ramblers travelled our way through farmland, woodland, still vibrant with the colours of spring flowers, bluebells and pignut, the leaves bursting forth on the branches.  Hazel, Birch, some Oak, Alder and Sycamore the main tree contingent.  The grasslands were attracting Small Heath butterfly, Green-veined White and a fast flying russety orange type which didn't sit still to see, but a Fritillary I assumed perhaps Marsh Frit.  The heat of the day gave all the butterflies a speed I could not match with my small net!  We saw two Clouded Buff (day flying moth) a nice addition to the list.  Above the woodland, patches of wet heath with a bountiful flourish of cotton grass over slightly de-hydrated sphagnum mosses with butterwort and sundews vying for nutrient full midges to entrap.

Clouded Buff

Heath speedwell

Round leaved Sundew with entrapped midges
We sort out the rock carvings, perhaps created by the shepherd who once inhabited the old steading, supposedly, 'Rabbie Burns' and the profile of the lady.  We discussed the legend of the plague village, where lies the truth and the fiction of a good tale. 
The lady in the rock

Carpets of Bog Cotton (Cotton grass)

The old walls and rocks of the older village dwellings emerge from the grassland blanket that hugs and wraps around the rocks with nature finding niches in all the nooks and crannies, lichens and mosses and tree saplings finding a roothold in the mosses and rock crevices.

English Stonecrop

Foxglove and Tormentil

Rowan sapling

Lichen and moss hugging the rocks
2 Golden Eagle were seen soaring on the hot thermals of the day in the distance, circling high, and a lovely yellowhammer sat perched singing on top of the old shepherds house.

A great first foray into Islay's wondrous nature of 2016, hopefully the first of may a pleasant, sociable walk with local Islay folk and visitors and showing them the beautiful, interesting and unexpected delights that Islay's natural history can provide.

Birds: 2 Golden Eagle; Yellow Hammer; White throat; Buzzard; Willow warbler.  Butterflies: Small Heath; ?Marsh Fritillary; Painted Lady; Peacock; Green-veined White; Clouded Buff (moth).

Flowers: Birds-foot Trefoil; Pignut; Bluebell; Tormentil; Butterwort; Round leaved Sundew; Heath Speedwell; Germander Speedwell; Lousewort; Heath Bedstraw; Cotton grass; Hazel; Downy Birch; Alder; Oak; Sycamore; Willow

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