Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Sundays Nature walk - The Ard, Port Ellen, Islay

Our first nature rAmble of 2017

Islay Natural History Trust - Wild About Nature

This summer's Islay Natural History Trust, Sunday Nature rAmbles got off to a slow start, I expect it was the heavy thundery shower that hit just before 2pm that put folk off , but it had cleared in Port Ellen.  Although there was no crowd waiting outside the Co-op to join the walk Mandy and I did take a lovely meander around the Ard to see what flowers were out, after a lunch stop at the Cyber cafe Bistro, which was an absolutely fantastic meal, more people should go, we were the only ones there!

The Ard is a great mix of grassland showing a woodland flora intermixed with heath over the rocky outcrops and bog/flush vegetation in the wet depressions in between, so much in such a small area.  So we were blessed with bluebells, dog-violet and pignut interspersed with the open grassland flowers of birds foot trefoil, milkwort, heath speedwell and tormentil to name but a few. Upon the rocks was stonecrop just coming into flower.  
Dog Violet, though digital camera interpretation of blue is shocking!

Ant pollinating? Pignut
 In the wet flushes common spotted orchids were unfurling their flower spikes, there was an abundant display of marsh cinquefoil and the yellow flags are at their best for the month of June. 
Marsh Cinquefoil

Common Spotted Orchid
 Despite the calm almost muggy day thankfully the midges were more interested in congregating on the yellow flag of the iris flowers.
Midges clustered on Iris Flag
Next Sunday we will be exploring the shoreline at Gartbreck, west of Bowmore, the tide is low with the chance for sea creatures amongst the rocks and we will investigate the seaweeds and other flora on the saltmarsh areas at the high tide line.  There is a small colony of common seal and I expect some waders to look out for.  We never walk far as there is usually so much to stop and look at, so whether you are an Ileach or a visitor please join us over the summer at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon we have a full programme which takes us to all corners of Islay at a nice sociable pace.

Fiona MacG

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