Wednesday 7 September 2016

A pleasant Ardnave rAmble 4th Sept

It was a lovely afternoon, gone the morning showers and a bright afternoon unfolded, perfect for a Sunday rAmble.  9 enthusiastic visitors keen to explore.  We marvelled at the scenery, Loch Gruinart had been emptied of the sea and the distant haze of cloud gradually lifted through the walk. We stared out viewing north east to the islands of Jura and Scarba, Oronsay and Colonsay were in plane view, the sun shining brightly on the farmhouse on Oronsay.  Mull gradually became visible and to the north west the lighthouse of Dubh Artach.

Our aim was primarily birds, and the chough flock did not disappoint, about 25 birds in a loose flock probed the dune slopes and searched through cow pats.  A look over a  well worked pat revealed large juicy dung beetle larvae, perfect chough food.  We were able to get good views through the telescope and clearly see their red legs and bills, and their scolding calls highlighting their presence.

A pair of Buzzard soared over the cliff on Knave Island and the song of seals could be heard and on closer scanning we saw many hauled out on the low tide rocks west of the island. A Great Northern diver was spotted flying high.  During our walk back we took in the neat beauty of a couple of Wheatear and a Skylark only a couple of meters away oblivious or just not bothered by our group on the path ahead.

Birds: Chough (c.25); Raven; Starlings; Gannets; Great Northern diver; Skylark; Meadow Pipit; Shag; Greylag Geese; Buzzard; Wheatear; Oystercatcher

Flowers: Grass of Parnassus; Self Heal; Ragged Robin; Autumn Hawkbit
Mammals: Seals (Grey/Common); Hare; Rabbits (lots of Myxamatosis)

All in all a pleasant walk in pleasant company.
Fiona MacG

Our next Sunday outing takes us on a Fungi Foray with Alistair to Skerrols Loch, Bridgend.

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