Friday 29 June 2018

Mini Wildlife Adventures!

Make sure to come along to our mini wildlife adventures that run from the beginning of July, to the end of August. It is free for all to take part and encourages our little ones to explore the natural environment of Islay, through various fun and exciting activities. The activities are a mix of seashore, pond dipping, dune and beach exploration, mini beast hunts and geology wonders, so there is a variety for all interests and needs. Our mini wildlife adventure finds are endless, so come along and join in for a fun-filled summer!

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Sanigmore: Coastal Dune Delight Success!

Sundays walk was not only successful with the sunny weather and a slice of cake at the Outback Arts gallery but with the wildlife and coastal flowers spotted along our nature rAmble!

The dunes were alive with coastal floral displays that included many colourful delights. These included Thrift, Red clover, White clover, Wild thyme, Yellow iris, Ladies bedstraw, Silverweed and many others! Our floral finds were in a bit of competition with the coastal bird spotting of which came up with great results also. Not only were Pied wagtail, Sanderling, Ringed plover, Oyster catcher, meadow pipits, rock pipits and starling spotted, but a pair of Choughs were also observed grazing and flying above the bay!

Islay is home to 90% of the Scottish population of red billed Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and are best seen on the West coast. They can be easily confused with other Corvids such as Jackdaws, but are specialists that are easily distinguishable by their red bill, red legs, shiny feathers and their distinctive "chOW!" These birds will graze on short managed grassland for insects and so areas such as Sanigmore that are grazed by livestock, are ideal habitats. Keep your eyes pealed for these playful birds.

Flowers and coastal birds were not the only species spotted on the bay, but we also had a friendly seal pay a visit! For more dune delights, flora displays with the added bonus of orchids and butterflies, come along to our Killinallan nature rAmble on the 1st of July!

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Gartbreck: Super Seashore Bonanza Walk Success!

Although we were unfortunate with the rainy weather that turned in on us whilst on a seashore wander of Gartbreck, we powered through and had much success whilst scavenging the beach for seashore finds. The tides were at their lowest and many species were found including a variety of seaweeds from egg wrack, bladder wrack, Peppered dulse, Saw wrack, Gut-weed and Sugar kelp, which were spotted along the way. We carried out a beach-comb to uncover what was beneath and more was discovered including common shore crabs, hermit crabs, sea squirt, flat fish and painted top shells! There were many interesting discoveries from this Sunday's walk and although the weather was not on our side, the wildlife definitely was!

Make sure to come to this Sunday's nature rAmble on Sanigmore bay on the 24th June where we will be exploring the dunes for floral plant life, coastal birds and many other wildlife delights....there may also be a possibility of a stop for some cake at the Outback Art Gallery before setting off, so make sure to come along!

Wednesday 13 June 2018

Pollinator Walk Success!

It was a very successful walk led by Fiona MacGillivray last Sunday, when out searching for pollinators at the Loch Gruinart RSPB reserve! Many bees, from White-tails, Buff-tails, Carders and Garden bumblebees were observed within both the reserves woodland trail and moorland trail. The sunny weather was a bonus!

Some of our exciting finds of the walk included some interesting butterfly species from Small heath, Green veined, Small copper and Marsh fritillary, what a find! Marsh fritillary although widespread on Islay are threatened not only within the UK, but across Europe and so of conservation concern. It is the most brightly coloured of the fritillary species and can be found in damp grasslands, chalk grasslands and coastal grasslands, so keep your eyes pealed!

The current pollinator verge surveys and management are hoping to encourage habitat favorability for not only butterfly species, but all pollinator species on Islay.

Make sure to come to this Sunday's 'Super Seashore Bonanza' rAmble on the 17th June, where we will be at Gartbreck looking for seaweeds, seals, flowers, waders and seashells. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday 6 June 2018

June Islay Nature rAmble

Lets hope the good sunny weather stays for our Sunday nature walks coming up this month!

The features of this coming Sunday walk will surly be least impressed by the rain...Join us on a pollinator walk around RSPB Loch Gruinart where we will be searching for butterflies and bumblebees and to understand why these species are all the rage on the island this year. Meeting point is at 2 pm at the RSPB Loch Gruinart visitor centre.....Come along and bring your best pollinator enthusiasm!

We will also have a look at the seaweeds, seals, flowers, waders and seashells at Gartbreck for a 2 hour ramble and nearer the end of the month we will have a look into the abundant flower and coastal bird wildlife on Sanaigmore bays extensive dune system. Meet at the Outback Art Gallery for a 1.5 hour ramble. All ages are welcome!