Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)
Tue 8 May 2012 Eilean Munde
St Mun's Island in Loch Leven, north of Ballachulish, but still
within VC98. Its first known inhabitant was St Mun from Iona who set up a
chapel there, and it has long been used as a burial ground by the MacDonalds of
Glencoe among others.
St Mun's Island from the boat
Another view from the boat as it made its way to the
landing-place on the far side of the island
Plant recording began as soon as we landed. This is a puzzling Geranium, closest to Cut-leaved Cranesbill but not right - could it be a very odd Herb Robert? Made a note to check on it when we go back later in the year.
Horse Chestnut, one of several planted trees on the island, others included Larch and Lime. There were a number of self-sown seedlings about from the Horse Chestnut.
Eilean Munde shoreline, with Marsh Marigolds and Scurvy-grass
in flower and Meadowsweet, Cow Parsley and Curled Dock to come.
Intriguing piece of rock exposed by a tree that had blown over
The first Hawthorn flower I've seen open this year, and the
first Elder flowers too
Also the first Rowan. Not the first Thrift, but
it makes a fine display among the slate
A lot of the gravestones were made of Ballachulish slate which
preserves the inscriptions very well, but many were partly covered by this
lichen. I assumed it was Melanelixia fuliginosa but now I think it may be
Xanthoparmelia loxodes, will check next time.
Slate gravestone with iron pyrites and the lichen
Eilean a'Chomhraidh with the Pap of Glencoe behind
Still a bit of snow on the very highest hills. To tell
the truth it felt cold
enough for snow on the island, but stayed dry.
Eilean Munde from Eilean a'Chomhraidh, with the slopes of
Beinn Bhàn and Meall a'Chaolais behind.
Turnstone on the beach at Eilean a'Chomhraidh
A single Dunlin was seen
At least 100 Common Gulls were nesting on the tidal island
next to Eilean a'Chomhraidh.
This nest was near where we landed on Eilean a'Chomhraidh, and
not with the other Common Gull nests on the tidal island. We moved away from it
and the gull returned to sit on the eggs.
There were just a couple of Black-headed Gulls, keeping well away from the Common
Broken eggshells were met with frequently, probably mostly due
to predation by Common Gulls of the other inhabitants such as Oystercatchers.
This robbed nest may have belonged to a goose. There were a few Greylag
and Canada Geese about and one definite broken goose egg was found elsewhere on
We did not see any Eiders nesting but saw some on the water. There were also 5
Common Terns flying about and hovering over the water. They are known to
nest on the island but the ones we saw stood about on a skerry when not in the air.
The shore at Ballachulish consists of slate quarry waste. These boathouses were built from the local slate in the mid-19th century by
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer