Fiona writes: Here at the Islay Natural History Centre we thought we should enhance our displays on the wonderful array of plants Islay is host to. With many of these contributing to Bruichladdich’s The Botanist Gin, it seemed fitting to provide a little more background to these 22 species. As well as their highly appreciated flavour benefits to this local tipple, our ancestors had a whole array of uses for these plants from medicines to clothes dyes. Thanks to Bruichladdich Distillery for doing a wonderful job of producing and printing it to stunning effect.
We now also have our microscopes all set up to see the finer detail of plants, their leaves, flowers and stems even down to their cellular structures. New creatures will have hopefully arrived before the end of term for our sea tanks, so there are so many reasons to come by for a visit. Continue reading....
We also had our first Sunday rAmble last weekend. There were lots of amazing creatures to be seen along the shore from Bowmore towards Gartbreck. Aided by a perfectly timed low tide, blue sky and our walk-leader Fiona’s wealth of knowledge, we uncovered shore crabs, tortoiseshell limpets, a chiton, a small flatfish, breadcrumb sponges, sandhoppers scooting through the water, a common shrimp, and a beautiful sea slug, to name but a few. There was even a Squat Lobster that must have been the victim of stormy weather and sadly it was full of roe. There were globular seaweed balls and also worryingly an invasive seaweed called Japweed originally from the Pacific. We will aim to investigate this further and find out how much of an issue it could be if not contained in the future.
Oystercatcher on the shore
There will now be a rAmble each Sunday, (no its not a typo, its just that there is usually so much to look at, an interesting find here and there, which must be looked up and identified with a story of explanation, that we don’t actually get very far). It is also a sociable afternoon, so do come along and be fascinated by the wonders of Islay’s wildlife, next rAmble is at Sanaigmore 14th June, treat your self to coffee and cake before and walk it off with us!
21st June – Woodland Birds and wild Jura Views
Bunnahabhain to Stoaisha through the forestry. Meet at grass triangle before turn down to distillery 2pm
28th June – Orchids, butterflies and other dune delights
Killinallan dunes. 2pm Meet at the locked gate at the end of the road on the east side of Loch Gruinart. Give yourself time for drive up the lumpy road.
Sea pinks at Kilnauhgton Bay