Nature Blog Network

Miss Whiplash :-o

I’ve changed my name to Miss Whiplash this week and with very good reason. Are you thinking figure-hugging black leather trousers and top , thigh high stiletto boots, whip in hand at the ready?

South Uist's single track road

South Uist's single track road

No, the reason for the name change is more due to the injuries i think i must have sustained due to Ian’s driving – i don’t think he’s quite got the hang of the single track roads here on the island yet :) We’re driving happily along then he spots a car coming towards us. His thought processes seem to go like this – “Mmm what to do, make it to the next passing place or no maybe we’ll use this one right here” I say “aaarrrgh” as the brakes are slammed on!!

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks. We managed our first bit of bird ringing courtesy of our neighbour who has a fabulous garden – sheltered and loads of vegetation. Bill also very kindly lets us use his shed to do our ringing in.

Fabulous day weather-wise. Could almost be a scene from Spain...

Fabulous day weather-wise. Could almost be a scene from Spain...

Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll

Meadow Pipit

Meadow Pipit

LOTS of Blackbirds around. This is a juvvy bird.

LOTS of Blackbirds around. This is a juvvy bird.

Bill has been in his house for 30 years and there are some great things in his garden. This lichen took my eye.

Lichen growing on a bush in Bill's garden

Lichen growing on a bush in Bill's garden

Our first migrant - a Willow Warbler

Our first migrant - a Willow Warbler

We spent the first couple of weeks without furniture but the day finally arrived when the removals lorry was due to arrive. We went down to Lochboisdale to see the ferry come in and make sure the lorry was on there. The usual ferry that plies the Oban to Lochboisdale route, the Clansman, was out of action so the Lord of the Isles is standing in at the moment.

The Calmac ferry Lord of the Isles coming in

The Calmac ferry Lord of the Isles coming in

The Lord of the Isles docking - and we could just about see the removals lorry

The Lord of the Isles docking - and we could just about see the removals lorry

Ready to unload

Ready to unload

Yay! We have furniture!!

Yay! We have furniture!!

The furniture van arrived on the Tuesday night, the two removals men, Rob and Darren, parked the lorry on our driveway ready to unload the next day. They were not able to leave the island again until Friday morning so had a little time exploring and i filled them up with a cooked breakfast each morning.

We spent a few days unpacking all those boxes we had carefully packed up. On the Friday we had our first gale. Ian made me laugh as he said at about 10am “i bet it doesn’t get any worse than this does it?”. I just laughed. At that point the wind was only about a steady 30mph – just a little breezy. It worsened as the day went on and at the peak was gusting to force 10.

What little vegetation we have was getting blown about a little.

What little vegetation we have was getting blown about a little.

We had a couple of sessions mothing, the best being an incredible 444 moths of around 30-odd species.

Pebble Prominent was new for us

Pebble Prominent was new for us

Pink-barred Sallow

Pink-barred Sallow

Magpie moth

Magpie moth

Haworth's Minor

Haworth's Minor

and as the name suggests, a very beautiful moth:-

Beautiful Golden Y

Beautiful Golden Y

The sky and the weather are always changing here, the quality of light never ceases to amaze me it’s so clear. Just beautiful.

Late one evening looking from the house, the distant hills you can see are on the Isle of Barra.

Late one evening looking from the house, the distant hills you can see are on the Isle of Barra.

This Mute Swan family - 2 adults and 3 young came right to our fence. We think they were trying to find their way from the loch at the back of the house to the loch on the other side of the road. Unfortunately the land is all fenced off, don't know if they made it or not.

This Mute Swan family - 2 adults and 3 young came right to our fence. We think they were trying to find their way from the loch at the back of the house to the loch on the other side of the road. Unfortunately the land is all fenced off, don't know if they made it or not.

Last weekend we helped out with the twice a year goose count. The Greylag Goose population has exploded here and causes all sorts of problems for the local crofters. The geese get into the crops that are grown on the machair and not only eat the crops but also crap in it which then makes it unpalatable for the stock that are fed on it during the winter months. See the Machair Life+ Project website for lots of information on the unique machair habitat and also about the goose problem and what is being done about it.

Most normal people who retire look at getting a comfy old person type vehicle, perhaps a Rover, a smart Mercedes or Audi, but not Ian, his retirement vehicle of choice is the Vauxhall Combo van :-)

Most normal people who retire look at getting a comfy old person type vehicle, perhaps a Rover, a smart Mercedes or Audi, but not Ian, his retirement vehicle of choice is the Vauxhall Combo van :-)

With a kitchen now full of all mod cons i was able to do my first batch of baking – for this i chose one of my favourite recipes, one that we ate constantly at Delta Marsh Bird Observatory over the previous 4 years – Cinnamon Bun. Mmmm, yum!!

Cinnamon Buns, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Cinnamon Buns, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Even though we have very little vegetation in our own garden the ringing hasn’t been too bad at all. There have been plenty of Lesser Redpoll’s coming to feed on the Pampas Grass, no matter how windy or rainy it is. In fact we’ve had not a bad variety of birds in the garden – Reed Bunting, Pied Wagtail, Wheatear and Meadow Pipit. And how many people can say that they can most days see Short-eared Owl and Hen Harrier from their kitchen window. Brilliant!

Lesser Redpoll on the Pampas Grass. We've also put a feeder up in the middle of it so the birds will still have something when the Pampas seed runs out.

Lesser Redpoll on the Pampas Grass. We've also put a feeder up in the middle of it so the birds will still have something when the Pampas seed runs out.

Finally this Common Darter dragonfly which we found in Bill’s garden

Common Darter

Common Darter

Ah well, back to the unpacking….

2 comments to Miss Whiplash :-o

  • Very interesting and a lifestyle that is very attractive to me – not so sure about Gordon! Let your posts roll in – love ‘em!

  • Martin

    The knack is to get through single track roads on a daily basis.

    Summer can be hard, but soon Ian should be up to passing without ever stopping, at the same time giving a knowing flick of the head and a cheery wave to passing local traffic!