Tag Archive | Lundy Field Society

Island of Flowers

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Lundy is currently covered in flowers! There are sheets of bluebells on the East slopes, where the bracken grows up to cover them later in the year. And the Western cliffs are a carpet of thrift. I have never seen such large hummocks, in such a wide range of shades of candy pink. It was gorgeous!

We were staying for a few days with the committee of the Lundy Field Society, in Millcombe House, which is a lovely elegant rental property nestling in the valley above the Landing Bay.

 

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As well as the thrift and bluebells, I found a few other interesting flowers, including the little blue Sheepsbit Scabious:

 

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Yellow Pimpernel, which is very similar to the more common Scarlet Pimpernel, but yellow, as you would expect…

 

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And Henbane, an interesting and extremely toxic plant!

 

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As well as finding flowers, I managed to wander around most of the island, and with the weather being excellent, it all looked stunning!

 

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We went over on the Oldenburg, as do most visitors in the summer, but not all….

 

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Lundy is always beautiful, and always worth a visit, in my opinion, but if you are partial to a pink flower or two, May is definitely the month!

 

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Discover Lundy – a week of learning

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Having spent a week volunteering on Lundy, I then moved into Bramble Villa West with my husband and another couple, and spent the next week taking part in Discover Lundy. This is a week of walks, talks and activities run by the Lundy Field Society, for the LFS members, which takes place every 4 or 5 years. Many of the members of the LFS are eminent scientists, or amateur specialists in their own fields, or have accumulated much Lundy knowledge, and this week gives the other members a chance to learn from them.

 

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We had a fungus talk followed by a foray which had us all on hands and knees learning about all the weird and wonderful fungi that are to be found. The one below is a waxcap of some sort…

 

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There was a plant talk and walk, which showed me some treasures that I had walked right past before and never noticed. Inspired by this, I then kept my eyes open whenever I was walking the island, and I found this little Rock Sea-spurrey, smaller than my little fingernail.

 

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There was an archaeology walk, and a migrant bird talk and walk, all of which took people all round the island. And on every walk we saw plenty of interesting things, not always all of the kind we were supposed to be looking at!

 

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The invertebrates walk had us all hunting for bugs, beetles and suchlike, which was different, but was also an opportunity to ask others for help identifying all the colourful caterpillars that I had photographed during the week.

 

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This is a Fox Moth caterpillar, which is extremely common on Lundy.

 

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This is a Broom Moth caterpillar, and it doesn’t have a light shining out of its head – that is the LED flash round my macro lens.

 

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I think this chap is a Brown-tailed moth.

One of the most fascinating activities was the rock-pooling, where we explored under boulders at the lowest point of the tide, and found all sorts of interesting things, including a gripfish clinging to the rock, and lots of crabs.

 

 

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As well as the more normal red beadlet anemones there were some huge strawberry anemones.

 

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I was very interested in the cushion stars – two of the larger species on a rock, and one of a tiny species that someone found and put in a dish for us all to see.

 

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There was pond dipping, bird-ringing demonstrations, photography workshops, a golf tournament on the rough moorland ( I came second!), and a bake-off. The challenge was to make something with the limited resources of the cottage kitchens, and with the limited ingredients stocked by the shop. I made a double chocolate ganache cake, which I was pleased with, even if it didn’t get placed.

 

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The evenings were also full, with astronomy, moth trapping, catching nocturnal shearwaters, a film night, a play, a quiz and a formal dinner.

The week was extremely busy, but absolutely fascinating, and I will appreciate my favourite little island all the more now that I know a lot more about it.

Two whole weeks on Lundy!

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‘What on earth do you do on Lundy for two weeks?’, I can hear you ask. Plenty, I can assure you. I had a very busy two weeks, and had very little time to do nothing.

Firstly, the two weeks were actually separate, with me staying in different accommodation with different people. Week one I was part of a team of fourteen lovely volunteers, all members of the Lundy Field Society, on a conservation break, working for the island in exchange for free board and a free crossing. I did the same week last autumn, and this year’s team included many old friends as well as some great new ones. We stay in the barn, which is the island’s group accommodation.

 

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This is the view from the front steps of the Barn looking down towards the tavern. The week was busy and hard work, but the socialising and the great island views make it all worthwhile.

 

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I swam in the sea nearly every day, enjoyed a long walk round the island on my day off, managed to cook a two course meal for all 14 volunteers when it was my turn, beat the others at scrabble, went places I haven’t been before, and had a thoroughly good time.

I had to wave goodbye to most of the team at the end of the week, but I and one other stayed on for a second week, which was just as busy. But that will have to be another blog post!