Sunday, 20 July 2008

Lochranza to Glen Catacol, Isle of Arran

I thought that Richard and Kath might like to see some Adders and Red Deer so we took a bus to Lochranza (which pretty much satisfies every Scottish stereotype, scenery-wise). Sitting down at the bay near the castle, we shared our sandwiches with some Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos). Further out a female Merganser (Mergus serrator) was busily diving in the sparkling water.

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) female
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) female
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) female

We didn't have to look far for Red Deer - this hind was so unbothered by our presence that she continued to graze as we stood a metre away: in fact we were unable to get a picture of her head! So, despite feeling like a pervert - a hind (in both senses of the word!):

Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) hind

We took a gentle walk up Glen Catacol (to compensate for the previous day's death march), keeping our eyes peeled for Adders. Despite our best efforts we were unsuccessful in that respect. We did, however, closely approach a basking Slowworm (Anguis fragilis). For me this was better than an Adder as it is only the second time I have seen one! These legless lizards have very boxy heads and are almost cuboid in cross section.

According to the Herpetological Conservation Trust this species is 'widespread throughout the British Isles' and 'probably the most frequently encountered British reptile'. Personally, I have not found this to be the case but it may just be scarce in the Central Scotland area, or maybe I'm unlucky.... Years ago, I found a Slowworm between the Test and the Greenside Reservoir in the Kilpatrick Hills. Despite much searching I have never seen one in this area since.

Amongst the boggy patches were Great Sundews (Drosera longifolia) and plenty of Gold-ringed Dragonflies (Cordulegaster boltonii) - one was happily chewing on a wasp!

waxcap (Hygrocybe persistens)

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