Natural History Project

If you have any interest in Natural History and will be in Colonsay at any time between December 2017 and December 2022 I would be glad of your help - I have identified a very small study area, and need volunteer Recorders. All species are of interest, especially flowers, grasses, ferns, mosses, fungi, lichens and trees. Details of anything else would also be very welcome. It does not matter if you are a regular visitor or just here on a single visit - your assistance will be invaluable. Please see our progress to date (sadly, no information on bats, moths, fungi, lichen, moss or even birds as yet).

The Project

With the consent of Colonsay Estate and Scottish Natural Heritage, a small area within a Site of Special Scientific Interest has been cleared of very dense bracken, which may have been inhibiting the success of competing species. The bracken has been cleared entirely by hand, using a small sickle, to a height of 20 cm., without disturbance to other plants. The over-burthen of fronds has been removed, and also volunteer plants of Rhododendron ponticum. Bracken crosiers will continue to be cut throught each growing season until December 1st 2022. An adjoining and comparable area will be used for comparison.

What we need

Any and all natural history records will be very welcome, especially in the first year. Even if you can only identify a limited number of species, your contribution will be valued. If you are uncertain, please indicate this beside the record ("?"), so as to encourage subsequent re-evaluation; please note the date, your name and include an e-mail address in case I need to contact you. All entries will be tabulated and published here, including date of observation. Your name will not be published unless you are kind enough to give a note of consent, and your email will NOT be published in any event.

There is no need of a special recording form, just note everything you can identify with the date of observation, line by line. Add your name and e-mail address and leave the information for Kevin Byrne at the Post Office, Scalasaig, or email it to byrne[at]colonsay.org.uk You will notice that the site has been marked with small posts to create 4 divisions, running from west to east as A, B, C,D. Each division has been further divided at the mid-point, into a lower section (1) and a higher section (2). These divisions are of no significance unless you happen to identify something unusual, in which case a specific reference would be very useful (e.g. B2).

The location

The area in question is just 50 x 50 metres (2,500 square metres), centred upon NR41002 96460. One should allow almost one hour each way for the walk in and out from a public road; participation is at your own risk and because the location is quite remote it is important that somebody knows where you have gone; fortuitously, there is often a mobile phone signal but this cannot be regarded as reliable. In winter the going is not too bad but from mid-June the whole area is engulfed in very dense bracken and it would be very easy to become disorientated; as a general rule it is best to approach from the gate at the southwest corner and follow in the footsteps of others. If in doubt, Kevin Byrne can perhaps give more specific advice on 01951 200320.


Please remember, this is a private initiative by Kevin Byrne and if you choose to participate it is entirely at your own risk. Neither the land-owner nor SNH have any involvement, other than having kindly given permission. The location is reasonably remote and access, by whatever route, is necessarily across rough and uneven ground.

Contact details: Kevin & Christa Byrne, Homefield, Isle of Colonsay, Argyll PA61 7YR

Email: byrne@colonsay.eu Telephone: 01951 200320