Sep 062017

I visited Tiree, one of the Inner Hebridean Islands, for the first time, during the last week of August. A beautiful place with some spectacular beaches and scenery. The island of Tiree is known as “The Land Below the Waves”. It has been inhabited since Mesolithic times, 9,000 years ago, when the last Ice Age ended. Tiree is rich in place names and this reflects the detail of the landscape. Most names are in Gaelic and there are also over 180 Viking names on the island and most of the township names come from Norse. Places such as Sandaig, Hynish, Balephetrish, Heylipol, Salum and Caolas all conjure up Tiree’s ancient past.

Some interesting wildlife and plenty of photographic opportunities. We all had a thoroughly enjoyable time and I must thank John Bowler, the islands resident birder, for all his local information. I managed to find my first Great Yellow Bumblebee, we had stunning views of Otter and I saw around 60+ species of bird. The bird highlights I found were a Wood Sandpiper (quite a scarce bird for Tiree), a Corncrake, the islands first Kestrel of the autumn, several Black-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel, single Greenshank and Ruff, a single Bonxie, 2 Sandwich Tern, 3 Whooper Swan, a Willow Warbler, along with plenty of common migrating waders, Swallows and Sand Martins. My year list had moved along to 216 by the end of the week.

Dawn over Kilmoluaig, Tiree, looking towards Ben Hynish – The view from our croft – Tony Davison©

Loch Bhasapol, Tiree – The view from our Croft window and the left of the loch was where I found the Wood Sandpiper. We had 2 Otter most mornings playing around in the left hand bay.

Ringed Plover – adult – Balevulin Bay, Tiree – Tony Davison©

Ringed Plover – Juvenile – Balevullin Bay, Tiree – Tony Davison©

Ringed Plover – above 3 images of moulting adults – Balevullin Bay, Tiree – Tony Davison©

Ringed Plover – A juvenile on Machair at Gott Bay, Tiree – Tony Davison© 

Post Box at Gott Bay, Tiree – Tony Davison©

Sanderling – moulting summer plumaged adult – Balevullin Bay, Tiree – Tony Davison©

Sanderling – above 2 images – Juvenile – The Maze, Tiree – Tony Davison©

Sanderling – adult winter – The Maze, Tiree – Tony Davison©

Sanderling – above 5 images – Vaul Bay, Tiree – Tony Davison©

Lapwing – above 2 images – Kilkenneth, Tiree – Tony Davison©

Common Gull – above 3 images – Port Hanais, The Maze, Tiree – Tony Davison©

Meadow Pipit – Lots of these under rated birds on Tiree. I’m guessing many are migrants rather than the local population. Tony Davison©

Northern Wheatear – “Greenland” race  – juvenile – above 2 images – Kilkenneth, Tiree – small numbers seen most days at various places around the island – Tony Davison©

Great Yellow Bumblebee – above 3 images – Ben Hough, Tiree – Now only found in the north Highlands and some of the Scottish Islands. It has declined in population by over 80% and the current distribution reflects its requirements for flower rich Machair habitat. Tony Davison©

Otter – Whilst walking Vaul Bay, Tiree, we met up with this beautiful creature. A female Otter, due to its size, oblivious to our presence, out hunting. Tony Davison©

Brown Hare – above 2 images – Kilmoluaig, Tiree – Tony Davison©

“By The Wind Sailor” (Velella) – An obviously old specimen, we found at least 4 of these strange wind blown Jelly Fish. They frequent warm and temperate waters in all the worlds oceans. Tony Davison©

Beautiful Periwinkle Shells on the beach at the “Ringing Stone”, Tiree – Above 2 images – Tony Davison©

The “Ringing Stone” Tiree – Located on a beach between ~Balephetrish and Vaul, it is a huge boulder that is balanced on other rocks and emits a metallic ring when struck. It is thought that the boulder came from Rhum during the Ice Age as there is no other example of this type of rock on Tiree.

Situated between Balephetrish and Vaul, this is a large boulder balanced on other rocks like an egg on a spoon. It emits a metallic ring when struck and has a number of cup markings generally associated with the period of the Megalithic Builders. A much more romantic piece of folklore is that it was thrown by a giant from Mull, and should it ever be removed from Tiree the island will sink into the sea and be lost forever.

The Fisherman’s Hut – Vaul Bay, Tiree – Tony Davison©

Marram Grass at Balephuil Bay, TireeTony Davison©

The Ancient Chapels of Kirkapol – The larger of the two Chapels, which dates back to the 14th century, was the former parish church and stands in its own graveyard. Tony Davison©

The Ancient Graveyard of Kirkapol, Tiree – Tony Davison©

Kirkapol Chapel – Above 2 images – This is the smaller of two ancient Chapels that can be found behind the Tiree Lodge Hotel at Kirkapol. This Chapel dates back to the 13th century and was dedicated to Saint Columba. Tony Davison©

Kirkapol, TireeTony Davison©

A Sign of the Times – Tiree Cross Roads – Tony Davison©

Windswept Stone – Balephuil Bay, Tiree – Tony Davison©

Homeward Bound – The Sound of Mull, Argyll and Bute, Scotland – Tony Davison©




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