Autumn on the Ross

You might be wondering what we’ve been up to over the last couple of months!  Here’s a wee update on a ranger’s life in autumn…

Bunessan Biodiversity days exploring the wildlife in the grounds of the Ross of Mull Historical centre where I have my office:

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Hosting a Thistle Camp working holiday tackling all sorts of maintenance tasks including the never-ending beachcleaning:

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…and a wildlife film-maker producing a video clip for showing in our new visitor shelter on Iona – more about this in due course!

Interspersed with some trips to other beautiful parts of the country for training courses on crofting and outdoor health and safety (and a bit of holiday too!) next up was phase 2 of the Changing Landscapes project, with the theme this year of Working the Land and Sea.  18 students from Oban High school joined tutors Donald Shaw, Eleanor MacDougall and Jan Sutch Pickard for a 2-night stay on Iona and produced some lovely original music and writing in both Gaelic and English about their experiences exploring the island, meeting local folk, investigating placenames, sights and sounds.  Their final performance in the Abbey was recorded professionally so the results will be available soon, meanwhile last year’s project is still available to view, and here’s a few photos of this year’s work in progress:

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Not to be outdone, Iona primary school undertook their own project in parallel, and the two groups came together to compose and perform a song about Iona’s placenames.  Some of the primary school children also posed for a photoshoot to provide images for our new visitor shelter building too:

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Nature clubs at both Iona and Bunessan primaries have looked at seed dispersal, bumblebees and snails (the snail racing was a particular highlight!) and I also spent time with the older Bunessan class investigating seaweeds and the effects of marine pollution:

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Add to that a final plant survey on the Ross, a cheery group of Explorer Scouts visiting from Perth for a foraging trip, checking Staffa’s infrastructure with the structural engineer and attending Burnet Moth study group and Mull Deer Management Group and you have a flavour of a ranger’s autumn.  Don’t forget deer stalking is underway, so please check before you walk in the hills, using the contact details in the Outdoors Mull leaflet available locally and the advice here.

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