Beachcombing near Stoer Lighthouse 

March 11th 2018

On 20th January(2018 Stuart Belshaw collected some small shells from the sandy beach in Geodh’Gainmhich (NC003324), south of the Stoer Lighthouse carpark, which he passed on to us.  Four were cowries, all with the dark spots identifying them as the spotted cowrie Trivia monacha, the usual species found around the coast of Assynt, but generally only in small numbers.

Two others were also familiar, a small rounded valve of the queen scallop Aequipecten opercularis and a lovely translucent shell of the blue-rayed limpet Helcion pellucidum pellucidum.

However, the remaining small pinkish bivalve, just 12mm long, with a couple of darker markings radiating out from the central umbo, was not one that we have noticed before.  It is readily recognisable as one of the sunset shells Gari spp., of which four species occur in British waters, and we have tentatively identified it as the smallest species, Gari tellinella.

There is an excellent new website entitled The Marine Mollusca of West Scotland and the North Coast of Ireland by Shelagh Smith and Julia Nunn (2017), which may be accessed at www.ccmap.co.uk/nmws_atlas/index_scottish_mollusc_atlas.htm.  It has up-to-date distribution maps for 700+ species with illustrations of their shells. There appear to be no previous records for this species of sunset shell from the coast of Assynt, though it is fairly widespread in the area covered by this referenced website.  Well done, Stuart!

Ian Evans and Gwen Richards

 

 

 

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Recent Sightings

Kittiwake

c100 adult and 1st-winter birds feeding off Clachtoll (DAH) (24/09)

Tufted Duck

two male birds on Loch Drumbeg (DAH) (22/09)

Merlin

single bird near Stoer Village Hall (DAH) (21/09)

UPDATE on colour-ringed Oystercatcher

we have heard back from the Icelandic Wader Group regarding the colour-ringed Oystercatcher spotted at Bay of Culkein on Tuesday. It was ringed, as an adult, near its nest while it was territory-guarding on 19th May this year; the location was Eskifjorour which is on the east coast of Iceland. We will post a short article on the Field Club's website in the next few days regarding other sightings of colour-ringed birds recorded in Assynt (DAH) (20/09)

Pink-footed Goose

c225, in four skeins, heading east over Culkein Drumbeg (DAH). Oh boy, it's autumn! (20/09)

Wigeon

single male in eclipse plumage Loch Inver (DAH) (20/09)

Manx Shearwater

young bird rescued from a garden at Inchnadamph (Chris Rix/Andy Summers). The bird, which was well off-course, was successfully released at Stoer the next day. (18/09)

Oystercatcher

four birds resting on rocks Bay of Culkein (DAH). One of these birds, an adult, had a combination of coloured rings on its legs. The details have been submitted to the appropriate ringing scheme, which appears to be the International Wader Study Group, and we will report back once we hear from them. (18/09)

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