Friday, 2 December 2016

And so it begins

Bit of a hazy day really. It's all been pretty manic lately, what with the overnight move up from Southampton and then having to drive the mere 130 miles across to Inverness just to drop the van off. Then the coach rides back to Uig afterwards... physically all a bit draining. Plus there's the emotional side of things - just upped and quit everything I know to go live with a crazy mad girl at a hotel on Skye without a safety net or the cash to buy one... Anyway, sod it. We're here now and it's too late for second thoughts!
The local patch of trees just happens to be the most extensive broadleaf woodland in northern Skye. Uig Woods is managed and owned by the Woodland Trust (could be better, but then again could also be a lot worse) and they've produced an information leaflet which can be viewed here. I also managed to find their Management Plan online as a pdf. You can check it out for yourself here.

Anyway, so what did we find? Well we saw 15 displaying Eider at the pier but that is well outside the boundary of my monad so doesn't count. It seems that all the Rock Doves here in Uig are the genuine real deal, not a hint of dodgy genes that I can see. Fraser's Folly opposite our hotel seems to be the early morning hangout for about 25 of them. Otherwise they spend time on the weed-covered rocks at the beach at low tide. Not something I can recall seeing Feral Pigeons doing. A nice foraging flock of maybe 40 Chaffinches were in the weedy strip at the top of the beach, we later found them bathing in a shallow stream in the woods where they were joined by a few Siskins and Goldfinches too. Yet to see a Carrion Crow, they're all Hoodies up here. Ravens and Buzzards aplenty but no sign of either eagle yet.

The black volcanic sand seems fairly devoid of life, other than multitudes of hoppers which I've yet to properly look at. Brown alga was most obviously represented by Egg, Spiral, Serrated, Channelled and Bladder Wracks but not much else. No crabs, echinoderms, fish yet. Only a few small molluscs which I ignored for today.

The woods are absolutely festooned with lichens and bryophytes! It makes even the New Forest look spartan by comparison. Lobaria pulmonaria Tree Lungwort I recognise, some of the mosses were identified, mostly I just figured I'd get round to them sometime later!

Plants are obviously not exactly at their showiest in December. Despite this I managed to see a few species still in flower and recognised others, often with their associated microfungi on show too.

I'm in two minds regards listing the ongoing species tally. I think I'll keep a full list on a seperate page and update it as I add to it rather than whack a long list beneath each blogpost. But I'll give you a breakdown anyway. And I'll add pics too...soon!

Algae - 4
Lichens - 1
Fungi - 3
Bryophytes - 4
Vascular Plants - 16
Crustaceans - 1
Birds - 24
Mammals - 1 (Human!)

Running Total for NG3963 is 54 species.

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