Craighoyle Woodland SSSI, Argyll

Bluebells: myths and magic

Driving home from a trip to Argyll last week, I was captivated by the extensive blue haze on the hills above Loch Lomond which slowly transformed into masses of bluebells carpeting the woodland floor down to the loch shore. Spectacular displays of bluebells are one of the highlights of the spring; the swathes of bulbs […]

Breadcrumb sponge (Halichondria panicea)

On the Beach

A Hebridean beach safari for curious naturalists Bank Holidays are traditionally a time for a trip to the beach, and Hebridean beaches can be as quiet as any Robinson Crusoe desert island. However, they are not as empty as they might appear and a closer look will reveal an abundance of life. The animals and

Arctic Tern

Coming soon…return of Arctic Terns

Coming soon to a beach near you – the return of Arctic Terns and other summer visitors.
As I’m starting to write this (on the 15th March) I suddenly realise that the Redwings that have been around most of the winter seem to have disappeared. These small thrushes arrive in October from Scandinavia and Iceland.  Many pass through the Outer Hebrides on their way to places further south in the UK but some will stay overwinter. In spring they return to their northern breeding areas. At the same time, far away in the Weddell Sea, just off the coast of Antarctica, another migrant species is about to start its long journey back to the beaches of the Outer Hebrides.

Painted Lady Butterfly an early spring arrival – photograph by Robin Sutton

Painted Lady Butterflies

Early sightings of an amazing migrant butterfly from the Outer Hebrides. At this time of year, like many naturalists, I look forward to the signs of spring that inevitably herald the better summer weather yet to come; Oystercatchers and Ringed Plovers returning to their machair breeding sites, the first queen bumblebee foraging for nectar on early flowering daisies in the garden and the first butterflies.

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