Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Kildonan, Isle of Arran

It might sound selfish, but I was disappointed to find that the access to this beautiful beach has been improved by the removal of a gate and the creation of a gravelled footpath (with benches). When I arrived it was full of people: more crowded than I have ever seen it. As a child I used to come here often on family holidays and you could sit on the beach for hours with very few people walking past. Today I got kinda annoyed as the wildlife (especially the seals) were being constantly disturbed and dogs were running about everywhere (typically, I had one jumping on me the very instant I opened my lunchbox).
These people never visited the beach when they had to make the effort to walk 5 minutes along the rocky beach or climb over one fence! People should be prepared to put a little effort into viewing wildlife. I'm worried that Kildonan's seal colony will become another crowded, dog-shit covered, litter-strewn, cheap tourist attraction. Reminds me of my disheartening visit to Dunvegan in Skye... :(

Anyway, sorry about the rant...

On the upper shore there were profuse clumps of white Brassica-type flowers which were attracting lots of Orange-tips (Anthocharis cardamines) and Green-veined Whites (Pieris napi). I didn't have the pleasure of taking many photos due to being constantly harassed by people wanting to know if they were rare butterflies and asking me if I was aware that I'd left my rucksack 2 metres behind me *SIGH*

Green-veined White (Pieris napi thomsoni)

Likewise I was unable to take good pictures of the basking Common Seals as there was already a group of people taking pictures.

Common Seal (Phoca vitulina)
Common Seal (Phoca vitulina)

Frustrated, I took a walk along the shore to the path which leads up to Levencorroch. Flowering plants included Red Campion (Silene dioica), Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) and Common Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris).

Once I reached Levencorroch I wandered along the main road towards East Bennan where I saw a Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus) galloping across one of the fields. Rows of Swallows (Hirundo rustica) were perched on the telephone lines and a few Hooded Crows (Corvus cornix) were marching about the sheep-cropped fields.

Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)

The Hooded Crow was long considered a subspecies of the Carrion Crow (Corvus corone) and has only recently been granted species status. It replaces the Carrion Crow over most of Ireland and Northern and Western Scotland.

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