Friday, 17 June 2016

Back to Bourblaige

We've been so busy sorting the garden after four weeks' absence that yesterday was the first opportunity to escape into Ardnamurchan's countryside for a good walk, when I had the pleasure of the company of two regular visitors to the peninsula, Sue and Richard.

It wasn't the most cheerful of days to go to Bourblaige, but there was so much to see that five hours and five kilometres seemed to pass in moments. One of the things we found was a small and very simple stone structure, perhaps the home of a shepherd, on the hill above Bourblaige, but we also investigated the horizontal water wheel site and the extremely well-preserved corn drying kiln.

Grey clouds and a few spits of rain can't spoil the magic of the coastline below Bourblaige where, wandering along the beach....

....Sue found this single egg, perhaps an oystercatcher's, in an apology of a nest. Usually, an approach to an oystercatcher's nest provokes a furous attack but nothing happened which, with it being already late in the nesting season, suggested it had been abandoned.

A wealth of wildflowers are now in bloom, ones which, in the normal way, we'd have been finding steadily as the early summer progressed, but this year are finding all at once. The first bell heather is out, as is....

....the cross-leaved heath. But. as always, the most exciting finds are....

....the orchids. This is the third of this season's common orchids found locally, the fragrant orchid, which was abundant on a south-facing hillside on Tornamona land.

Bog asphodel added its brilliant yellow to the same hillside, and below it, close to the sea....

....we found a pale pink foxglove. Usually we find one pale pink or white one each year, but we saw three in close proximity.

Despite the weather, several beetles were active. This one is likely to be the violet oil beetle, though there is little difference between this species and the black oil beetle. Oil beetles have been identified as priorities for conservation action through the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. There's more about the group here.

The highlight of the day was watching a young golden eagle which, despite the range, we were able to see very clearly through Richard's Swarovski telescope. The youngster spent much of its time perched on a crag eyeing us, but seemed sufficiently unconcerned at our presence to give us a brief demonstration of its flying abilities.

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