Islay - Blog


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Islay - Blog

  • Ragwort. Glorious ragwort.

    One final lovely task for our volunteers Paul and Tripta was to help us with pulling ragwort. If you're not sure what ragwort is I've popped a photo underneath, but basically it's the yellow daisy-like flower.

    Ragwort is great for lots of pollinators and is an especially important food source for the Cinnabar moth caterpillar. However the plant can be poisonous to livestock when digested in large quantities causing liver damage in serious cases. For this reason the plant is removed where lots of it grow together. 

    On the reserve we aim to do a few hard days a year in an attempt to control the plant before it dries out. Once the plant dries it is more easily digested by sheep and cattle and is then useless as a pollinating source for insects, so now is the ideal time to have it removed. Above is a picture of our warden Mary on the quad bike with a full ragwort trailer in tow - good work Mary!

    We use special forks so we can remove the roots as well to make our job easier for next year! The only issue with pulling this year is the dreaded MIDGES!! But the view more than made up for it as least...

    Paul and Tripta seemed to enjoy themselves at least! 

    Good days work guys!

  • Off to market...

    Today was our first day at Bridgend market to sell some of our fat lambs!

    Bridgend market holds roughly three markets a year for fat lambs.

    Today was a good excuse for our volunteers Paul and Tripta to head out for some tea and cake and watch the lambs being sold.

    They certainly had fun!

    And why wouldn't they!

  • More mothiness

    After a 3 week break with no moth trapping, last night produced 32 species, 15 of which were the first records for this year, showing a big change in the moths that are on the wing compared to a few weeks ago. No less than 6 of these species turned out to be new records for the Oa reserve, and 1 possibly new for Islay.

    The new species for the reserve included this small autumnal moth

    and this heath rustic


    This rush veneer is an immigrant, commonly seen on the south coast of England but less common on Islay. Also in the same picture is epinotia caprana, which if confirmed by someone more expert than me, will be new for Islay