Monday, 17 July 2017

Port Mor - Nature rAmble 16th July 2017

Port Mor - Flower rAmble

It was a beautiful sunny day for a change and we were investigating our own doorstep, Port Mor playing fields in Port Charlotte if you investigate below the camp site has a great range of diversity of plants and the many birds along the shore.

Spear Thistle: a typical image of  the traditional Scottish thistle,
with radiating lanceolate leaves at the base from which each flower
stem has a single flower head

We started investigating the plants along the track to the beach and the first to stand out is the good number of thistles , flowering and producing seeds.  These large prickly plants are fantastic for providing nectar for insects and once the seeds ripen will be a bounty for the goldfinch that were investigating their food potential.  There were three species all side by side which was a great way to show the differences, Spear Thistle, Great Marsh Thistle and Creeping Thistle.

Creeping thistle: smooth stems, very jaggy leaves
with a neat flower head in an open cluster
Great Marsh Thistle: A gangly spray of heavily spiky
stems with clustered of flower heads

Down at the shore the family of Shelduck have been doing very well, they still have 5 half grown youngsters with them not a bad feat for these ducks.  Off shore we watched a Gannet diving repeatedly for fish.

A meander along the shore provides a whole host of dry and wet patches which give a range of small niche pockets across the site aiding the great diversity of plants that will grow here.  In the damp flushes: Sphagnum, Sundews, Bog Pimpernel, Butterwort, Bog Asphodel, Marsh Lousewort and Marsh Pennywort.  

Bog Pimpernel

Thyme draping over rocks

In the dry areas overlying rock outcrops: Calluna heather, Bell heather, Clovers, White and Red; Birds-foot Trefoil; Eyebright, Wild Thyme; Fairy flax; and then on the really thin soils, English Stonecrop and lichens.  Interspersed through there is Tormentil, Self-heal and Heath Spotted Orchids.

Although it was a bit windy for butterflies we did see some Ringlet and a Magpie moth hiding out of the wind.

Next weeks' walk is for those with a fascination for fungi, Alistair will be taking you through the woods at Loch Skerrols to find what fungi is fruiting at the moment, with this so far damp summer there should be much to find.  Fungi don't just fruit in the autumn Spring and Summer can produce a diverse range of species, so please go down to the woods next Sunday and discover the toadstools of Summer.


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