Talisker Bay – SWT Walk

Despite a damp start at home, by the time we reached Talisker Bay for the 10 am start the weather was dry and by lunchtime we were basking in the sun. The early rain may have put some folks off so we were a select band who made our way along the north side of the bay to see the Vicia hirsuta (Hairy Tare), Orobanche alba (Thyme Broomrape) etc. and found a single specimen of Carlina vulgaris (Carline Thistle) last recorded in 1968 and which I had missed on my recce.

Chris Mitchell had kindly mugged up on the geology and was able to explain the lava flows and the international importance of the site which is  designated for geological reasons but is also home to the Talisker Burnet. See http://gateway.snh.gov.uk/sitelink/siteinfo.jsp?pa_code=1515

I had prepared cards of several groups of common plants  (thistles, horsetails, plantains and umbellifers) so that folks were able to brush up their identification skills. Like this:

Plantain card

Plantain card

On return we spent some time in the marsh and by the burn. There are escapes from Talisker House along the burn such as Common Bistort (Persicaria bistorta) and Tuberous Comfrey (Symphytum tuberosum). I am told that there is Leucojum probably vernum (Spring Snowflake) as well but we were too late in the year to spot it.

Foolishly, I had left my camera battery charging at home so couldn’t take any photos. So here are a couple from my recce a few days before:

Yellow Shell

Yellow Shell

White Vicia sepium

White Vicia sepium

Bill and Deirdre took us to their meadow as their orchids are in full flower. Always a pleasure to see – especially the Pseudorchis albida (Small-white Orchid) of which at least 15 were in flower. Tea and cakes also much appreciated.

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