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Qammieh coast, Mellieha. 8th Dec 05

 
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MWP admin
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:16 pm    Post subject: Qammieh coast, Mellieha. 8th Dec 05

Today was the first official activity of the MaltaWildPlants Forum community. This was the first of a series of activities that will be organised and today it was a walk along the coastline of Qammieh, in Mellieha, facing North West and West.

At 9am I and Picus went to buy a new Digital Camera from Kodak shop (an S2 IS) then met one of the forum members, Dr. Elena Yasnetskaya (which hereafter she will be referred to as Elena!) at B'Kara and drove all way to the Red Tower of Mellieha, which was the meeting spot for the activity.

Wolf and his wife (whose her name is Marthese) were there waiting, while il-Pine came few mins later. Keith couldn't make it due his exams. We introduced quickly to each other and started our walk, following Wolf the group leader for this activity.

After a 15min walk on the pathway we arrived to some old British-like barracks. From here we turned right (facing Mgarr harbour and Comino) and started our way down the slope to reach the coast far below. There was few fields in this area too, but it was very quite and peaceful on the whole.

The way was quite rough, but some occasional narrow pathway eased the way. One pathway was terraced by vegetation and had a quite adventure-in-the-jungle feeling to pass through, but it was just 10metres long! Here I met some Periploca angustifolia shrubs [read profile... ].There was also dried wild thistles with seed heads glistening in the sun.

After some minutes of walk, we could see a rocky beach which extended like a flat platform far out into the rough see. We continued further our descent, which was the most difficult in our entire walk. Here we came across some interesting plants namely a Limonium graecum with characteristic small flower pale violet colour and a leaf-crowded shrub (without flowers yet)which I could not yet identify. It was also a nice spot to take a photo to the 2 non-Maltese members of the group, Elena (Russia) and Picus (Finland). We finally arrived to the rocky beach and we decided to have a break. It was quite windy, NW, and Marthese estimated to be force 4 or 5. There where many nice views which kept the camera busy as it could be seen in the following examples:

1: Layers - Rock, waves, sea, cliffs and clouds
2: Rounded roughness - Boulders and clouds
3: Tree log carried inshore by the sea
4: A spray of oulders


We found a place that in our opinion was [url 1: ]comfortable enough to sit on,[/url] and discussed about many things namely travelling and Russia, in which Elena used to live. Wolf also revealed that he travelled to several places including Brazil.

At about noon we continued our way around the coast and now our direction turned so that the coast was facing west. We were now getting protected from the wind by the cliffs. [url 1: ]Rock layers [/url]with plenty of embeded fossils were common here. Plenty of huge boulders accompanied our walk in this part, but they did not made our way that much difficult, instead they introduced some element of fun for some of us.


Example 1
Example 2
Example 3
Example 4

Under at the side of one of the boulders we saw a community of St.John's Wort, characterised by small, ovate, opposite leaves (rather fleshy) and bright yellow flowers (about 15mm across).

The way was really nice at this point, with warm sunshine, sea breeze, and picturesque views of cliffs and boulders on one side, and the far coastline on the other end. There was also few clay slopes a couple of metres above our way. We also met some plants which I need the help of my collegues to identify, but plant 1 is probably Darniella melitensis - an endemic.

Plant 1: Photo i / Photo ii = Darniella melitensis
Plant 2: Photo i / Photo ii = ??

After half an hour of walk we arrived to another rocky beach similar to the previous one but much larger and with plenty of pools in the natural pits and holes on the rock. The rock was characterized by many fossilized shells and sea-urchins from the prehistoric-era. Some urchin were as flat as a saucer. Elena described that the face where there is a 5-petal flower-like mark (see more photos below) is the upper side and is the part that urchins breath, while the lower part has a central tiny hole (4mm) and is the mouth of the shore feeder. She added that nowadays, urchins evolved their feeding part to a size of about 1cm or more.

More photos of fossilized sea urchins (upper side) - Photo 1 / Photo 2 / Photo 3


It was quite interesting to have a flashback of evolution and literally touch prehistory with your own hands. In fact I Picus and Elena walked quite slow at this rocky coast and had made the others well ahead to wait for us for 10 mins or so. The eroded concave layer of globigerina limestone was quite interesting and inspired me to take few photos.

Concave Eroded layer
Double eroded concave layers! - Elena leaning on the upper one
Malin along the Concave erosion

We walked further on this quite long coastline until it was time to climb the cliff again. The ascend was quite tough for someone, probably because the smoking habit Again there was nice views over Mellieha village, and its vast garigue area, its famous Ghadira Bay and the Natural reserve(where there are the pools). A field of white Diplotaxis erucoides decorated the view of the coast we just walked.

We decided to have the second break on a fleet of concrete steps (British military??) since more or less everyone (even non-smokers) got tired of the steep slope. It was fun to talk with each other while enjoying the refreshing breeze, the view over the west coast of Mellieha and the peacefulness of this place. We may have spent half an hour here. Apologies to Elena since we talked a lot of Maltese here.

At about 2pm, we continued to climb up the stairs and arrived to the road we started from, that is the one that leads to the red tower. Here I and Pine met a low-growing crucifer with very tiny yellow flowers (2mm) and short siliquas.

We finally arrived near the red tower and was time of a group photo. We ended this event by a surprise from the administrator. I handed each a small pot with a plantlet of Mesembryanthemum crystallium, a quite scarce succulent plant that make glistening glands on the leaves. For this characteristic, some refer to it as the Ice Plant. It was time to say goodbye and we where all very happy about the walk and this activity. Not much interesting plants we admit, but we wait for the next walks in late winter and Spring.

Thanks for reading and sorry for the usual grammar typos. At least I compensate by the nice photos.

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Last edited by MWP admin on Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:17 pm; edited 3 times in total
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wolf
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Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 449
Location: Malta

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:12 pm    Post subject:

that was fast and efficient MWP
I think plant 2 is a glasswort but the botanical name escapes me

prosit !

wolf
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IL-PINE
Premium Member


Joined: 07 Sep 2005
Posts: 1112
Location: Qormi

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:39 pm    Post subject: Wow

Wow! What a report! Well, today we visited another part of Malta that I had never visited. Thanks to everyone for the great day out.

A great report indeed MWP!
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Ke!tH
Active Member


Joined: 14 Sep 2005
Posts: 43
Location: Attard- Malta

PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 9:09 am    Post subject:

Why did I have to miss this hike!
Instead I spent hours trying to study Maths, but it was all in vain. Now we'll see in the test

Well the wether was perfect yesterday, especially after the horrible wed, and even today!

Thanks for the detailed report Steve, at least I could follow the walk through the pics and enjoy some of the nature you met.
and proset for the new camera 'cikku cameras'

hope to see u all in the next event!
Keith
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jackpot
Botanical Expert


Joined: 06 Dec 2005
Posts: 1145
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 9:51 am    Post subject:

Lucky guys-nice hike-beautiful weather-super report, thanks Admin! With the pics I could follow this hike! Did you all have vacation, in the middle of the week? I can confirm you with plant 1 (Darn. melit.) and Wolf: plant 2 is Arthrocnemum macrostachyum (the Shrubby Glassword).
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wolf
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Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Posts: 449
Location: Malta

PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:41 pm    Post subject:

Keith - you missed this one but we will do a wilder rock walk in March
Jackpot - yesterday was public holiday in Malta ...and we get another one next tuesday but the weather will probably be miserable
here are my favourite pics
AAA - MWP macrophotographing a very large rock
BBB - The wife leads the way ( they always do.... )
CCC - Elena reflected in a rock pool

WOLF



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MWP admin
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Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 3136
Location: Malta

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:42 am    Post subject:

Thanks to all of you for coming and the nice comments about the report.

Wolf, in pic AAA I found the Limonium graecum and could not focus on it very well, so I had to use manual focus and lots of patience.

Keith, do not worry, we will make more of these activities. I had in mind late January if not too cold and wierd wether, but we see later on. good luck for the exam... if I was with you in the course I would given you lectures since I used to like Maths a lot.

Jackpot, thanks for your Identifications, they are all right. I wonder was it that leafy bush, any idea? I am considering making it as a new background in the site instead of the Oxalis pes-caprae.

Pine, I am glad that you liked it too.

Take care of the Ice plants. Hope they did not get destroyed by rain. Today they would like it outside!

CU

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jackpot
Botanical Expert


Joined: 06 Dec 2005
Posts: 1145
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:33 pm    Post subject:

Admin: the shrub is Euphorbia melitensis, not yet in flower (the yellow cyathia will be developed in spring). Plants are common, nice ones, covering mats-like rocks, occur at the top of the cliffs of Ras-il-Qammieh, left of the parking area at the end of the road, so this is close to the area of your last field trip.
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IL-PINE
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Joined: 07 Sep 2005
Posts: 1112
Location: Qormi

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:59 pm    Post subject: Shrub

I confirm with jackpot that the plant is probably Euphorbia melitensis because I cut part of the stem and the white milky exudate typical of Euphorbia came out.
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jackpot
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Joined: 06 Dec 2005
Posts: 1145
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2005 7:13 pm    Post subject:

not probably
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IL-PINE
Premium Member


Joined: 07 Sep 2005
Posts: 1112
Location: Qormi

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 10:09 am    Post subject: hehe

Ok, then it is Euphorbia melitensis, jackpot!

Well, it was a great walk certainly! Btw nice photographs wolf, hsibtek se taghmel kutrumbajsa hemm fuq MWP!

MWP admin I am confused with the Limonium graecum you identified, is it found in our islands or is it one of the endemic species?
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MWP admin
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 1:12 pm    Post subject:

Regards Limonium, it is a common species, not one of the endemics.
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