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MACHAIR AND OTTERS ON MULL

Machair on Mull

Please click on the image to view the Gallery.

Photograph of Harebells (Campanula rotundifolia) growing on a bank of Machair sand, Ardalanish, Mull.

 

What is Machair?

 

Machair is low-lying, fertile and herb-rich grass land that is a globally unique and threatened habitat.

 

It is the ONLY wildlife habitat in the World that is known solely by its Gaelic name which means "fertile plain".

 

A comparatively recently evolved habitat, Machair is made from debris thrown into the sea by the retreat of the last Ice Age.

Over many years this has combined with sand and the shells of dead marine creatures and has then been thrown back onto the shore by the action of wind and wave.

 

Gradually, after forming hillocks on the beach, these accumulations are blown inland and form a habitat of short grass nourished by the broken shells. Traditional grazing by sheep and cattle has resulted in many species of beautiful wild flowers, which often only grow in such a place.

 

Species such as Harebell, Grass of Parnassus, Tormentil, Field Gentian and many others grow in Machair. It is a fragile habitat and can be damaged by excessive recreational footfall, storms, vehicle encroachment and many other factors. The Gallery shows you some of the flowers that grow on the Calgary and Ardalanish Machair habitats.

 

Machair can be found at Ardalanish Bay on the Ross of Mull and Calgary Bay in the Treshnish area. The Ardalanish Machair can only be reached on foot and is somewhat larger than the area at Calgary.

 

The Machair at Calgary can be seen as a wide area of short grass running from its boundary with the road and west to the dunes and beach. (Please see image gallery above)

 

Calgary Beach is very popular with both Island Residents and Visitors and is advertised as one of the best beaches in the UK. It also has an inadequate and overcrowded car park, poor boundary fencing and a lack of clear signage advising visitors what Machair is and why it should be treated with care.

 

At time of writing (April 2016), the Machair at Calgary is also infested with moles. An area to the north of the existing car park has been excavated and levelled and will hopefully provide some additional parking for visitors.

 

Mull’s popularity has seen visitor numbers rising and a day trip visits to the island much more affordable with the advent of RET ferry fares.

 

The Machair at Calgary is quite understandably often just seen as a green space on which to play football and have fun.

 

There is nothing wrong with recreation and fun at all, but this may lead to the additional erosion of  and permanent damage to this superb habitat if more care isn’t taken.

 

So if you are visiting Calgary, please be aware of the Machair and enjoy the superb scenery.

 

With care, the beautiful flowers the Machair produces each summer will come back for many more years and generations to come.

 

Otters on Mull

 

In addition to the many other iconic species to be found on and around the Isle of Mull

 

the island is also renowned for its population of Otters.

 

 

This fine mature Dog Otter was photographed on his way from the shore to a Holt (sleeping place) on Loch Scridain in 2014.

 

Confident and in prime condition, he paused at the edge of the road before climbing a steep rocky slope and vanishing.

 

Otters have to cross the roads quite often on Mull to go to or come from their Holt before or after hunting in the sea.

 

Otters are wild animals and have no comprehension of the dangers from roads and passing vehicles.

 

To them a road is just something to be crossed as they go from one side to the other.

 

Please aware of this when travelling around Mull.

To find out more please visit the Mull Otter Group web site here or their Facebook page here

 

Thank you.

 

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Otter Sightings on Mull

 

You will see a new link button at the top right of every page on this web site.

 

The population of Otters on the Isle of Mull is dispersed over many miles of rugged coastline. Currently there is no accurate estimate of how many Otters actually live and breed on Mull or where they are distributed.

 

Mull Otter Group are asking for sighting reports of Otters seen on the Isle of Mull to help build up an accurate picture of the density and health of the population of Otters on Mull.

 

This will provide a valuable resource for Mull Otter Group to plan for the future and help these beautiful animals to thrive on the island.

 

Sighting Reports can be made by anybody who sees Otters on Mull, Iona or Ulva.

 

The Form you will see after clicking on the above link goes directly to Mull Otter Group and does not link to any other source.

 

Please note that all data provided in your Sighting Report is treated as confidential.

Please  note that the images and video content displayed on this site are Copyright © Barry & Mary Turner - 2016 - All Rights Reserved