On the wildside: There’s lots to see around Eyemouth

A Wall Brown butterfly taken at Lamberton. This species has become quite common along the entire coast of Berwickshire.
A Wall Brown butterfly taken at Lamberton. This species has become quite common along the entire coast of Berwickshire.

The coastal footpath south of Eyemouth is a really nice place to have a leisurely walk - the going is easy, there are several seats where you can sit and admire the view and there is a wide variety of wildlife to see and study at any time of year.

It can be cold and bracing if there is a strong east wind but on a nice, calm, sunny day it can be really pleasant.

As you walk along the side of the golf course the rocks and cliffs are folded and bent in an amazing series of contortions, this must have been a violent place in distant geological times and it is hard to imagine just what has gone on to create such a spectacular feature.

A wide variety of wild flowers can be found with a succession starting in early spring when banks are covered with Primroses and the white flowered Scurvygrass is abundant amongst the rocks.

The Scurvygrass (Cochlearia) is a member of the cabbage family and is not related to the true grasses. Long ago it was eaten by sailors on long voyages to prevent scurvy.

As the season progresses look out for the very rare Spring Squill which has blue flowers nestling down amongst the short grass. Yellow Kidney Veitch, white Sea Campion and pink Sea Pink are all very showy in early summer and in the autumn, surprisingly, dwarf, compact plants of Heather can be found in bloom.

The Devil’s-bit Scabious has bright blue flowers on foot high stems in summer and autumn and is a popular source of nectar for butterflies. On one very recent visit there were Red Admirals, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Painted Lady and several species of ‘white’ butterfly visiting the flowers.

Further along the path there is a wall next to the path and here were large numbers of Wall butterflies, see photo, which were busy chasing each other and any other butterfly which invaded their territories. This species has become quite common along the entire Berwickshire coast.

It is very pleasant to just sit and watch the seabirds. When the wind is in the right direction thousands of gannets will fly past close to the shore along with numerous gulls and terns. The terns have distinct, raucous calls.

In the winter a large flock of eider ducks feed in the sea and oystercatchers and turnstones on the rocks. If you are lucky a raven may start to display and call, flying high up in the sky, then tumbling and rolling down with its display flight.

On a recent visit I had the privilege of watching a weasel for about ten minutes as it hunted amongst the rocks and short grass, no doubt looking for some poor little mouse.

The next SWT field meeting is at 2pm on Saturday, September 19, at Pressmennan Wood, Stenton, near Dunbar. Meeting in the car park at NT620725. Stout footwear required.

We also have a coffee morning in Duns on Saturday morning September 26.