Monday 29 May 2017

Our 2017 season of nature walks - Sundays 2pm throughout the summer

The first of our Sunday Nature rAmbles this year

Starting off with a tour of The Ard - Port Ellen

The early spring flowers are nearing their end and the first of the late spring/summer flowering is underway so hoping for the best of both this coming Sunday.  The Ard is a nice mix of heath, grassland and woodland species, with butterflies and bumblebees on the wing there should be lots to interest us.  We have the sea to view and a bit of shoreline to explore so lots of potential flowers and creatures to discover.

Please do come and join us this Sunday at 2pm and we will see what exciting wildlife we can find.  We are meeting on the Green opposite the Co-op.

Charge £5 per person /family £10/ Islay Natural History Trust members £2

Friday 26 May 2017

Barred Umber - new to Islay

I trapped this moth in my Bruichladdich garden the night before last. It is called a Barred Umber, a name which fits the description quite well. Although it has been reported from Argyll mainland and from Mull, this is the first record for this vice-county, which covers Islay, Jura and Colonsay.

Monday 15 May 2017

Islay's Floral Dandelion Bonanza

It may have turned a bit dramatic and wild on the weather front today but the rain will be most welcome to all those invertebrates that thrive in the wet soil and many birds, now with chicks, that rely on them for food.  These dry few weeks although delightful and warming and providing a sunny vista can be tough for wildlife. 

 Others however are adapted to cope, the deep tap root of the dandelion reaches far under the hard baked surface soil to reach the moister depths and these seem to have thrived during this sunny spell.  The flowers are laden with nectar and pollen providing a wonderful blast of yellow along the verges and a plentiful supply of sustenance for bee's and butterflies.

These flowers are one of the earliest flowers to produce seeds which is very important for seed eating birds like the goldfinch which can be seen feeding around the seed heads at this time of year, just in time for their hatching chicks.

We may overlook these more common and familiar plants but they all have their important niche and role to play in the seasonal bounty of the wildlife year.
Fiona MacG

Tuesday 9 May 2017

Our next Natural History Talk

Ramblings from Dorset to Islay

Our next talk - Tuesday 16th May
Becky Williamson is on a visit to Islay and has agreed to give us a talk.  She will enthuse us and provide some insight into her ramblings around the footpaths of Dorset and Somerset.  A whole host of wildlife and good habitat is available to see in these southern counties and we look forward to finding out all about them.

Becky has persuaded her walking group from Dorset to come and sample Islay's delights so hopefully the good weather will last and they will get to see all the wonderful scenery and wildlife Islay has to offer and of course sample the fantastic friendly hospitality of Islay folk.

Please do come along to the talk, everyone is welcome @ Islay Natural History Centre, Port Charlotte, Tues 16th May, 7.30pm.  Admission £3.50, INHT members £1. Tea and Cake as always will be available after.

Thursday 4 May 2017

Islay's Nature Centre Sea Tanks are filling up!

Islay Natural History Trust's Nature Centre in Port Charlotte is now open for the season, and our sea tanks are quickly filling up with new residents! Last week members of Port Charlotte fire crew kindly helped us to fill the tanks with sea water, ready for the start of the season, and now our volunteer Steve has made several trips to and fro with new creatures that will make the tanks their home for the season.

So far we have 3-spined Sticklebacks, Sand Gobies, Shannies, a Sea Urchin, Sea Anemones, Barnacles, a Limpet, Prawns, Shrimp, Hermit Crabs, Shore Crabs, Periwinkles, Carpet Shells, Dog Whelks, Mussels, Bladder Wrack, Sea Lettuce, Toothed Wrack, Bean Weed and two lovely intricate red seaweeds.

The periwinkles have been making some interesting patterns in the shallow part of the touch tank!

Come down and see us soon! The Centre in Port Charlotte is open Monday to Friday, 10:30 am to 4:30 pm - lots to see and do whatever the weather!