Friday, 23 June 2017

Sunday afternoon nature walks - Sanaigmore

Sundays Sanaigmore Nature rAmble through the dunes

The weather cleared although a low cloud and mist still hung heavy over the nearby hills.  It was an enthusiastic group and lovely to take out and spot birds and flowers, though too damp for butterflies.  

Along the shore were the always present Oystercatchers with Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper calling too and showing some clear views.  Out in the bay a solitary Black Guillemot  showed well and the distant calls of Chough were later rewarded with a close up view as one decided to sit on a nearby fence and have a chat with a sheep!  The group were pleased to then be able to pick out the birds red legs and curved bill.  Further around the dune on an area of raise beach pebbles the small Common Gull colony was busy and amazingly one of the group spotted two young chicks as they moved amongst the pebbles, soon dissolving into the jumble as they became motionless again.

Common Milkwort alongside Eyebright yet to flower
The flowers were varied, some in bloom and some just coming out.  An exchange of knowledge on small identifying features is always welcome as we all go away having learned a little more from the day, for me Lesser Hawkbit and its concave leaf ends.  Storksbill and Hawkbits in full splendour, with Eyebright, Bird's Foot Trefoil, English Stonecrop just appearing.  Common Milkwort , Trift and Thyme interspersed the grasses and rocky outcrops.  Lesser Meadow Rue was found growing amongst some rock and pebbles above the high tide line out of easy browsing from the sheep.  In the wetter marshy areas Ragged Robin, Water Forget-me-not, Lesser Spearwort, Water Mint, and Northern Marsh Orchid, along with what I found to be (I hope) Thyme Leaved Speedwell.


Sea Plantain alongside Buckshorn Plantain

Lesser Meadow Rue 

An altogether pleasant afternoon.  For those who like their natural history more ancient and solid, this Sunday's rAmble will be with David Webster who will be explaining all about the ancient rock formations, folding and intrusions exposed for all to see on the beach at Saligo.  So for a fascinating afternoon meet at the Saligo gate at 2pm.

Fiona MacG

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