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Loving the wild on Islay

There is so much on this summer at the Islay Natural History Trust, we are just bursting to share our love of Islay’s wonderful natural history with you all, come rain, shine, outside or inside!

Our Sunday rAmbles not only have been a great excuse for getting out in the fresh air for a few hours, but you get to see parts of Islay that you maybe won’t see otherwise. Our last walk from Bunnahabhain towards Staoisha through the forestry was very enjoyable with some lovely people. Amongst the many things pointed out to us along the way by our expert and walk-leader Fiona were four different types of orchid, as well as two insect-eating plants that help to make a dent in the midge population – that can only be good! We are very much looking forward to tomorrow’s walk at Killinallan, not least because there are 11 species of orchid now recorded in this small corner of Islay thanks to a new species discovered this month by some regular visitors (Mark and Sally). The Narrow-leaved Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza traunsteinerioides) is found in a handful of sites in west Scotland, including on the Isle of Mull and on Kintyre, so this new record for Islay bridges that gap. We cannot guarantee seeing all 11 species but there will be a delightful carpet of dune flowers of all shapes and colours to admire and hopefully in the sunshine a butterfly or two. Continue reading...

Thanks to Foundation Scotland we have now teamed up with the Toy Library to bring our summer programme of ‘Mini Wildlife Adventures’ to folk. Every Thursday at 2pm throughout July and August we’ll be heading all over the place, exploring the seashore, flowers, moorland and ponds on both Islay and Jura. Thanks to the funding received we are offering these activities free of charge so come and bring your family - you are never too old for skidding about along the seashore. Pick up a leaflet and plan your summer adventures.


One of the new residents in the tanks

On Monday evenings through July and August there’s the chance to get an overview of Islay’s impressive wildlife with our ‘Wildlife Gems of Islay’ talk. You’ll find out what to see where and the wildlife you could see at other times of year. At the Natural History Centre in Port Charlotte, our new display on Bruichladdich’s The Botanist gin has been a big hit, with information on the 22 Islay plant elements used in the making of Islay’s gin. The marine tanks are now well stocked with cute little hermit crabs, and you can discover the hiding place of our ‘top notch’ Topknot flatfish and admire the ugly beauty of the Long-spined Sea-scorpion fish. Our resident lobster has settled in - sadly he’s only got one claw and is missing a few legs, but these will grow back whilst he’s with us over the summer. The lobster now needs a name, so we are welcoming suggestions over the next two weeks and will pick our favourite and let you know. Come along and see him for yourself if you need some inspiration! You can email in your suggestions or follow and contribute your ideas on our Blog (www.islaynaturalhistory.blogspot.co.uk), Facebook and Twitter pages (@islayINHT).

Thanks and hope to see you at a walk, talk, activity or visit!
Centre managers Mandy and Fiona

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