Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Nature discovered at Kearney

As promised, I would let you know what I discovered from Alison and Brian from the North Down & Ards U3A Nature group when we visited the National Trust site at Kearney.  This is the group below after Alison had given us some back ground history about the village and the surrounding rock formations.
Nature Group
Alison explained the North of Ireland and Scotland were separated from South Ireland and England by the Iapetus Ocean millions of years ago and this land mass was 30 degrees South of the Equator and moving North towards another land mass, eventually colliding and closing out the Iapetus Ocean.  This resulted in 2 things.  One was the folding of sediments into Anticlines (upfold) and Synclines (downfold).  Secondly, the sediments on the floor of the Iapetus Ocean were scraped onto the land.  This deformed the rocks making them folded, upended and cracked.  The rocks around Kearney Point are Shale, Siltstone, grey Mudstone with some red Mudstone at the base.

These rocks used to be horizontal

Close up of rocks
As we walked Brian showed us the Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) beolw which was in full bloom.

Also the Sea Beet (Beta maritima), below which has thick, green, glossy leaves.

He then explained about Lichens which are made of both fungus and algae.  He had brought along 3 examples to show us.  This first one below is Fruticose which not only is found on stones but often seen on trees.

The second one was Foliose which was a brilliant white and we were able to see all the Lichens with the aid of a magnifying glass.

Finally he showed us Crustose which was bright yellow showing all the fruiting bodies and when we looked through the magnifying glass it was like looking at the coral at the Barrier reef.

To round off a very enjoyable day we had very good views of a Wheatear however my camera zoom decided not to work so no photo of that bird although I did get a shot at these Turnstones.

We had seen 34 different species of birds, learnt about the rock  formations around Kearney Point and saw some coastal plants, with the sun shining all day.  Now that can't be bad!

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