Wednesday 21 January 2015

Arctic Gulls

After all these gales, it is a time to be on the look out for white winged gulls.  I passed this bedraggled looking youngster beside the road near Black Rock yesterday (20th) feeding on the remains of a dead rabbit that I had seen on the road earlier in the day.  From the its features and consultation with the book a faded spring 1st winter Glaucous Gull.


Tuesday 20 January 2015

INHT - Winter programme of talks

Winter programme of talks for the next few months has been scheduled - aren't we organised!
Next talk Thursday 29th January
Our AGM will be in February 26th, followed by a photographic tour of Islay's coastline with Becky Williamson, from the sea this time, and her finally fulfilled ten year quest to step foot on Knave Island!

March 19th we will be an introduction to the Geology of Islay with David Webster.

So hopefully many of you will be able to make it to some or all, we look forward to seeing you.

Snowdrops amongst the snow showers

There are some good tufts of snowdrops at Gruinart, they are a little more sparse at Bridgend so far.  Pictured amongst the hail and thinly scattered snow over the weekend.

After the Storms - 16th January 2015

Just the day before the sea was up to the road with waves and spray blasting the cars as they drove by at Black Rock, no ferries for much of the week with most folk finding indoor jobs and huddling by their fires.  But its not so easy for the wildlife.  I took a stroll along the beach at Black Rock where 24hours previously it had been churning waves, to see what had been washed up.  Broken shellfish, numerous sea squirts, starfish, crabs and a poor young coal fish.  It is always interesting, if a little sad, to find species that live offshore and know that out there, there is a whole other world we hardly appreciate.

many washed up worm carcasses
What I think to be a Sipuncula worm - Golfinga vulgaris

Sea squirt

Blunt Capper, buries itself in the sand

Ragworm, starfish and many Philinidea washed up

Philine aperta, it has a small insignificant shell, where its body grows from but not fully protected.  It lives in the sand in deeper water feeding on polychaetes, bivalves and on the small Green Sea urchin.

Thursday 1 January 2015

A ladybird and a moth!

Alistair Hutchison, out and about around Christmas seeking fungi (he being the island's undoubted expert) also found two interesting insects, both in Bridgend Woods. The first was the Orange Ladybird (a group of four hibernating), of which there is only one previous record for Islay (found by Bob Paget in Port Charlotte in 2011), and the other was the well-named Winter Moth, for which there are no previous Islay records, though two from Colonsay, one in 1976 and the other (on Oronsay) in 2011.
Malcolm - wishing all our readers a very happy and successful 2015.