Edinburgh Natural History Society


Walk to the Tummel Shingle Islands - August 8th, 2009

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We visited a most rare habitat on islands along the River Tummel just above its confluence with the Tay. Jackie Muscott led the excursion to this SWT Reserve. Seeds washed down from different habitats upstream are able to germinate and survive, particularly on the bare shingle. Side by side we found most unusual botanical bedfellows.
At right angles to the river is a succession from shingle through grassland to climax woodland, each with
a different flora.
Arctosa cinerea. This scarce spider lives only in burrows that it makes in shingle beaches. Its size and soft grey colouration are distinctive.
Chinese Ragwort (Sinacalia tangutica) is a 'neophyte' probably introduced to Britain about a century ago.
This female and seven Goosander ducklings spent the day crossing and recrossing the Tummel, whenever we popped into view.
The fine mauve striping on the flowers identify the Pale Toadflax (Linaria repens) It is probably not native, but introduced perhaps a thousand years ago - hence an 'archaeophyte'.
The rare Trailing Tormentil (Potentilla anglica) is hybrid which breeds true. It originated most probably from a cross between P.reptans and P.erecta.
Photographs: N. Crowther.
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This page was last updated on 21/9/09.