Sunday, 20 September 2015

Cliff gardening

Friday was the most beautiful day. Possibly of the whole summer!  Farmer accompanied Coco and myself on the school run beach walk, before the sun hit the hills around the bay.

It was blissfully peaceful, and we had the beach to ourselves. 

There is an amazing Rowan tree beside the Ensay Bridge, and I wanted to photograph it before the berries disappear.  Last year it happened almost overnight!

Growing on the bridge itself are clumps of Harebell (now very much over), but the pretty Herb robert was still flowering and there were fairy parasol mushrooms in the shade.

The sun takes quite a while to reach the tree now its mid September, so I got there too early to start with, and had to go back later on.

That night we had a fantastic clear sky, with a faint glow discernible to the naked eye on the horizon, but the camera captured some good colour in it! 

The stars were literally awesome,  I have never really dared to photograph the Milky Way but I couldn't ignore it this time.

The light on the right of this photograph is a fishing boat.  It has been dredging up and down just off Treshnish for days.

Butterfly Conservation Scotland (BCS) and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BCT) organised a Burnets and Bees Mini Festival this week with several different events happening.  Glengorm Estate hosted the BCT Seed Collection Workshop on Thursday, and yesterday morning at Dervaig village hall there was a bumblebee ID workshop. Sadly we couldn't get to either of these events - but we did get to the Burnet Moth Extreme Gardening at Kilninian yesterday - Farmer cycled over in the morning and Daughter and I went along later with his lunch.  He is back there this morning.

Now that there is a hydro scheme down at Traigh na Cille, the precarious old bridge has gone, replaced by this huge very slippery pipe.  I am glad no one recorded my crossing it, as I edged along on all fours, most undignified.

It takes about 15 minutes to walk to the site.  Cotoneaster is the main problem, though it looks like bracken will also be an issue.  The Slender Scotch burnet moth loves the steep (almost vertical) south facing face of this cliff, but the garden escaped Cotoneaster would take over the entire site if left to its own devices.  BCS organises work parties every year to help cut it back and paint the stumps with chemical.  You can see it works, as there are lots of dead stumps on the hillside.

I wasn't that much help as I kept being distracted by the wildlife and the flora.

I love Carline thistles.

A family of intrepid volunteers further up hill than we were, and a very windswept oak.

On the way back later in the afternoon we walked through a damper area with big clumps of this lovely plant which we dont see often, and I still need to look up.

Farmer pointed out a beautiful Aspen growing out of the rock face. It is quite a rare tree, and very pretty.

Ferns growing in rocks and spiders webs caught our attention and some high level cows grazing on the cliff top above us as we walked back to the car.

It is good to get out, and there is always something to learn too, and especially so, when in Tom Prescott's company!

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