Morrich More – 22 May 2011

After a safety briefing two days previously TDFC members cycled onto the Tain Bombing Range to experience the results of 7 – 8,000 years competition between deposition, long-shore movement and erosion of sands and silt.

2859_veldt_scene_SFWClick image to view

There are several micro habitats aligned with the erosion / deposition landforms which are ridges and slacks with only a few metres difference between them and all only a few metres above sea level.

To see the NW-SE orientation of the geomorphology (ridges and slacks) see this report from SNH. Look at PDF page 36, of 52.

Morrich More Geomorphology

Facing the sea is a three-ridge deep sand dune system about 5 – 6 metres high which fronts the relic island of Innis More at the NW, and the non-island of Paterson’s Island at the SE.

Varying grazing pressure has reduced or favoured success in various species of grass, shrub, tree, lichen and flower.

The TDFC excursion saw Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Skylark, Eider duck and other birds.  Also, Garden Tiger moth caterpillars and a 6 Spot Burnet moth caterpillar.

Pat says:
“We saw nothing individually mega special (in Morrich terms that is) apart possibly from Russell’s whimbrel, but I hope everyone felt they got a flavour of the size, diversity, and importance of the Morrich. Despite the access hassles, the MoD presence it is still a relatively undisturbed “reservoir” in these times of increasing people pressure and high tech farming.

We only looked at a fraction of the place and did not do a close up look at the marshes on the Inver side, but we did get to Paterson Island, where we had lunch (I have never before seen so many razor shells scattered over the sand surface before) and then back to the bikes via the Blue Pool.

Having looked at the map again (link above), I think that where we left the bikes was not the 1730 coastline, but an earlier coastline and not dated here. The last pronounced ridge, the one with hardly any trees, is I think the 1730 coast. Mind boggling either way.

Another “salt marsh” link to Jim Hansom’s work is here .”

Friday June 17th is the next visit with Brian Ballinger and IBG.”

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