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17 September 2014
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Islands - Isle of Coll

Amazing journey

Isle of Coll c/o Tony Oliver

The Isle of Coll is a stunning wild retreat blessed with a wealth of flora and fauna. Its summer carpet of wild flowers is simply awesome. Also look out for Basking Sharks, sea birds and migrants like the rare Corncrake.

Isle of Coll - amazing flora and fauna. Photo - Tony Oliver


A journey to the Isle of Coll through the Sound of Mull is a breathtaking experience as you cruise past Ardnamurchan Point, the most westerly tip of the UK's mainland.

The island itself is a great place to relax and enjoy wildlife, with only 200 residents, making it remarkably tranquil.

One of the most distinctive features of the island is its impressive sand dunes, reaching up to 35 metres in height.

Carpet of flowers

Machair c/o Tony OliverColl is famous the world over for its gorgeous carpets of summer flowers as a result of its unique grassland landscape known as the machair.

In fact there's over 300 different species of wildflower on this small island.

One of the specialities is the Pyramidal Orchid with its distinctive pyramid-shaped flower head.

The Bloody Cranesbill is widespread too, also characterised by its deep magenta blossoms, a common colour right across the machair.

Birders' treat

Little Tern c/o Tony OliverBird watchers are in for a treat on a visit to Coll, not only on dry land but on the trip across from the Sound of Mull.

From the ferry it's possible to see Manx Shearwaters, Petrols, Gannets and Auks.

Also look out for Fulmars, Little Terns, and many other seabirds.

Whilst on the island there's a good chance of seeing Skylarks, Twite, Meadow Pipits and Stonechats.

In the summer there is also a possibility of spotting Dolphins and Whales in the seas around the island.

Rare bird

Corncrake c/o Chris PackhamAnother reason for visiting Coll is the chance of spotting a bird that is a real British rarity.

The Corncrake is known locally as "the nutty noisemaker" as a result of its rasping call which resembles the squeak of a rusty gate opening and closing.

The bird was once seriously in decline, and a decade ago Corncrakes were almost extinct in Scotland.

But conservation work has been a real success and the bird is thriving once again.

The RSPB has bought part of the south west corner of the island and has established a bird reserve to protect this rare bird.

Find out more about Corncrakes

Photo credits

Grass of Parnassus c/o Tony OliverAll photographs of Coll courtesy and copy right of Tony Oliver and Coll Digital Images.

Corncrake picture courtesy of Chris Packham.

 

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