Monday, 13 August 2012

Coastal Biophilia

I woke up in the Wee Bunkhouse, my legs feeling the workout from the previous day's eleven hour hillwalk (See 'Mountain Wildlife'). It was birthday, and I was looking forward to continuing our April wildlife adventure. Kristy and I ambled along the shore of Loch Duich in light rain, checking out seaweeds, enjoying the common sandpipers and other birds and keeping a watchful eye out for otters.

We found a stunning patch of scurvygrass. As it's name suggests it was once used by mariners in need of a vitamin C boost. I love its succulent salt and pepper flavour. Further round a gaggle of wary greylags eyed us - elegant and under-rated birds I reckon.

Scurvy grass - once used by mariners to supplement weevily biscuits. 


Later we made our way east to Chanonry Point on the Moray Firth. As part of my birthday wildlife-fest, I wanted to watch a local wildlife gem: the world's most northerly population of bottlenose dolphins.

A line of people stood on the beach expectantly. Strangers conversed and adults were just as excited as the kids. Seeing the dolphins surface right near to the shore is a real treat. And more than that, as we braced ourselves against a chilly north-easterly breeze, it struck me that most of us were here for the same reason: celebrating life. We were revelling in the spectacle of seeing non-human life in action. Watching for the sheer joy of it. Erich Fromm and later E.O. Wilson wrote about 'biophilia' - an innate urge to affiliate with other forms of life.

If that wasn't biophilia, I don't know what is!

Biophiles watching dolphins

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