Next meeting

The nextGroup meeting is on Monday June 11th 2012 at Clashwhannon Public House, Drummore, 2.30pm


Speaker: Jude Hartley ‘Turtles’


Phone or email for details.  01776 840573

Photo of the week

Click to enlarge


Pteridium aquilinum

Image © Jeff Wells 2012

One of Scotland’s ‘useful plants’ which gets a mixed press. Although regarded inferior to heather, it was much used for thatching and bedding for people and animals. The fronds were believed to have insect-repellent properties and this is borne out by modern scientific research. The ash from burned bracken was used in glass and soap making; the Isle of Mull had a considerable income from exporting the product. Many birds including skylarks; willow warbler; yellowhammer; ring ouzel; woodcock and twite use bracken to nest under.

However, the plant is carcinogenic to horses and cattle when ingested; acute and chronic poisoning can occur. Also the invasive nature of the plant allows it to destroy heather and pasture.

In Japan, Korea and China the young fronds are eaten, but this is thought to lead to an increased chance of stomach cancer. Danish research in 2004 even suggests a toxin, ptaquiloside, can leach into the water supply in bracken-rich areas, and lead to an increased incidence of cancer in those areas.

Record your 2012 sightings online here.

Calendar of events.

Contact us here.

• Photo gallery

• Birds of our area

• Unusual Shell found in Luce Bay

• Links to other natural history sites

The Great Drummore Moth Trap 2011

List of species seen locally - coming soon!

© Kirkmaiden Natural History Group 2012

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Kirkmaiden is a parish in  the South Rhinns of Galloway, South West Scotland, incorporating the villages of Drummore and Port Logan and the hamlet of Kirkmaiden.

Kirkmaiden Natural History Group is based in Drummore.  We hold indoor meetings monthly and run field outings throughout the year .

The Group is indebted to the dedication, knowledge and expertise of founder-member Pauline Swettenham, without whose encouragement we may well not have got going.

We need your help!  Please report any local wildlife sightings to us using the form on this page, or use our facebook page. Just click on the link below.

Meeting reports from 2009

Meeting reports from 2010

• February 2010  Ian Burrett

• March 2010   Mark Pollitt  -  Amphibians

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Where is Kirkmaiden?

See Kirkmaiden on a map here.