In August, we had a cruise around the islands of the Hebrides. We went with a company called Hebrides Cruises on a boat called the ‘Elizabeth G’. There are just four cabins for 8 guests and a crew of four – captain, bosun, chef and guide so it’s quite a cosy setup. We started from Oban and over 10 days visited Morvern, Rum, Canna, Mingulay, South Uist, Harris, the Shiant Islands, Rona, Knoydart, Eigg and Tobermory on Mull. We were treated to excellent meals from chef Sarah and were guided on our shore trips and while cruising by wildlife guide Lynsey.
After a couple of years of lockdown we finally organised a trip outside Dumfries & Galloway. We had a 5 day stay on Mull with Mull Wildlife Breaks. Each day, we were taken out by mini-bus to see different areas of Mull and Laura our guide pointed out the variety of birds and other wildlife. We also had a boat trip day when we saw sea eagles nesting on Ulva, puffins and other sea birds around Lunga and lunch at Staffa & Fingal’s Cave.
Wasps have taken over one of our bird boxes and decorated it with an impressive paper sculpture.
After a period of heavy rain, stormy weather and cold nights there were thousands of shellfish washed up at Sandgreen beach. The theory is that the cold, fresh water coming down the Fleet estuary killed off the razor clams and cockles then they were washed out of the sand by the stormy weather.
The frogs arrived early this year. The first ones appeared in the pond around the 20th of February.
It seemed to be mostly male frogs at first but eventually some females arrived and we got the first frog spawn on the 8th of March.
We were kayaking round the back of Barlocco Island when Gabrielle saw a fox. It ran off across the island and we continued to paddle across towards the mainland and the beach hut. As we got closer to the beach we saw some people looking at something in the rocks by the water’s edge. They had seen the fox swim across from the island to the mainland and it was hiding down in a crevice in the rocks.
Through the summer, we have been having regular visits from a sparrow hawk. Here he/she is, perched on the garden fence waiting for breakfast.
A spider web showing off some fresh raindrops from a passing shower.
As summer draws to a close we are starting to get some stronger winds blowing in from the south-west. Here are a few waves rolling into Dead Man’s Bay.
The wind and waves bring in plenty of assorted debris from the sea. It’s mostly various kinds of plastic bottles and containers along with bits of nets, rope and other items lost or discarded from fishing boats. We fill a few bags with this stuff a couple of times year from the local beaches.
The young hares are a month old now and seem to be doing well. They have managed to avoid being eaten by the local stoats and foxes and appear to be quite content to live in our garden. They spend some time in our vegetable beds but seem to be more interested in eating the weed seedlings rather than the vegetable plants.
In early May we had some new arrivals in the Craig Cottage garden. A hare gave birth to two leverets in our newly-planted hedging plants. Here she is attending to the new arrivals who are hidden down in the grass.
The mother hare leaves the young ones alone hidden in a hollow in the grass most of the time and just visits once or twice a day to feed them at dawn or dusk. This is the first clear view we got of them.