Hello everyone. I’m Gillian, the new Isle of Eigg Seasonal Ranger for this summer. I will be lucky enough to experience the next five months on this special island and hope to keep you updated on all the wildlife and goings on.
My first thought on arriving last week was how big such a small island can be! Although only approximately five miles long and three miles wide the variety of habitats and landscape features means there are plenty of areas to explore.
On my first day exploring I was treated to the sight of a male hen harrier overhead, a stonechat a stone’s throw away from me, displaying lapwing and drumming snipe. I’m now into my second week and each day I’m ticking another species of the list.
I’ve been treated to more hen harriers, redwing, ringed plover, eider, wheatear, willow warbler, goldfinch, great northern diver, buzzard, raven and hooded crow to name a few, and of course the eagles.
After a very rainy trip to the shop the clouds broke to reward us with a white-tailed eagle flying over. Content with such a wonderful sight it was stunning to then spot the golden eagle flying above 10 minutes later.
It’s not all about the birds though. The island is currently dominated by yellow flowering plants – common primrose, marsh marigold, lesser celandine, coltsfoot and buttercup species, although there are hints of purple with common dog-violet beginning to appear.
I’ve also been chasing bumblebees with white tails, stepping over beetles, rescuing caterpillars from the road and finding goose barnacles attached to a washed up crate.
Elsewhere on the island someone has spotted the first swallow and bottlenose dolphins towards the mainland.
The Wildlife Watch group were also learning about bumblebees last week, playing some buzz related games and creating their own bees. Thank you to Camille and the children for letting me join in. I’m looking forward to linking in with more sessions over the summer and helping the children explore Eigg.
Check back soon for another update, and if you are on or visiting Eigg let me know what wildlife you spot. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gillian Gibson, Isle of Eigg Ranger