St Abbs Head a much loved Berwickshire landmark

razorbill
razorbill

The rocky headland at St Abb’s is a well-known and much-loved landmark found midway along the Berwickshire Coast.

It consists of Silurian sedimentary deposits which were laid down roughly 440 million years ago and hard-wearing lavas that burst forth from Devonian volcanoes about 50 million years later.

The National Nature Reserve is under the care of the National Trust for Scotland and attracts large numbers of visitors every year.

They are lured to this magnificent site by a range of interests which include bird watching, botany, diving, fishing, geology, history, kayaking, photography and walking.

This most deservedly, was considered to be an ideal location for Berwickshire SWT members to explore on another of their much enjoyed guided field-trips.

The day was warm and bright with the area looking at its very best in the dazzling sunshine.

Mighty cliffs plunge down to hidden underwater rocky reefs which teem with marine life.

The inshore waters form part of a Voluntary Marine Reserve in order to protect the precious habitat.

These same precipitous slopes supported a riot of different plant-species, colours and forms.

The white flowers of Sea Campion were liberally sprinkled amongst the stunning pink tufts of Thrift, whilst Purple Milk Vetch – once said to “make the cattle and goats milk well” – formed a number of bright violet patches.

Greater Stitchwort, Bulbous Buttercup, Kidney Vetch, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Pignut Wild Thyme, Northern Marsh Orchid and Early Purple Orchid also contributed to the diversity of the area.

The somewhat rare Northern Brown Argus frequents the Yellow Rockrose which grows there but on the day of our visit it was Green-Veined White and, most particularly Wall Brown butterflies which were on the wing. The latter species has extended its range northwards over recent years and these attractive insects clearly favoured the bare sun-baked slopes.

St Abb’s Head has often been referred to as Seabird City and its easy to see why.

Lining the narrow cliff-ledges, forming rafts on the sea and wheeling above our heads were roughly 30-40,000 Guillemots together with 1,600 Razorbills, 5,000 Kittiwakes and 250 plus Herring Gulls.

Lines of Gannets – residents of Bass Rock – moved back and forth along the coast.

Shags, Feral Rock Doves, Jackdaws, Meadow Pipits and cliff-nesting House Martins joined the spectacle.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust is a Scottish registered charity, number SC005792, and is based in Edinburgh