Tuesday, 29 August 2017
I have many Ardnamurchan residents to thank for all they have done to help, including those who have contributed - Les Humphreys, Ritchie Dinnes, Richard O'Connor, Justin Cameron, Chris Gane, Geoffrey Campbell, Tony Thain, Out & About, Kilchoan Early Bird, the Raptor and many more. To them, and to others locally who have helped and supported in so many ways over the years - my deepest thanks.
....is partly to be responsible for the collapse of the Scottish wildcat population, rabbits being one of their main prey. Again, when we first came, we used to see wildcats occasionally, usually on the road at night. It's a long time since we've seen one though they are reported to be still around.
The decline of the wildcat has coincided with the rise in pine marten numbers, and to something we have noticed more and more: pine marten scat miles from the nearest pine, or any other sort of tree. They're beautiful animals but we've always discouraged them: they're not much fun if they set up home in your roof space and, when the cats were alive, they didn't like them.
Mink are an introduced pest. Their numbers seem to fluctuate but even one is too many. They prey on seabirds and their eggs, small mammals, fish, the local poultry and, from the way they look at us, we're also on the menu. Considerable effort has been made locally to eliminate them but this is virtually impossible.
Thank Goodness that, despite competition form mink, otter numbers seem to be holding up. While it's more difficult to see them in summer - they seem to move away from areas where there is increased human activity and, of course, there are more daylight hours in which they can operate - in winter we often see them in the bay below our house. Anyone who has sat and watched them knows what a joy it is.
We've been very privileged.
Monday, 28 August 2017
Heritage Ardnamurchan - and to erect interpretative signs at five of the sites.
Sunday, 27 August 2017
One of the things I have learnt in the last few years is that photographs often don't come out the way one expects them to. With such limited knowledge of digital photography, I simply point the camera, press the button, and then hope that the settings were right - and occasionally, very occasionally the picture comes out far better than one could have hoped.
This is particularly true of wildlife photography where the opportunity for a good shot can be momentary. Picture shows two greylag geese.
This is another picture which came out far better than hoped - but for a different reason. We needed a cover for the new edition of the Annals of the Parish, and wanted one similar to the original, which was taken from the lower slopes of Glas Bheinn. To have set out on a bitter March day, with heavy hail showers battering in on a strong wind across the Sound, and come back with such an atmospheric shot, was truly remarkable.
This picture is of one of the crags high above Bourblaige with, far below, the B8007 winding its way across the Basin. The light was all wrong, with the distant slopes of the Basin in the sun and the crag in the shade, but the picture works - partly because of the small things, like the tree clinging to the vertical rock face, and the droplets of water frozen in the waterfall.
Saturday, 26 August 2017
They have a hard life. There isn't a bird, large or small, that doesn't find pleasure in harassing them, even though they don't hunt birds, and they are persecuted unmercifully by the local crows.
Occasionally we see much rarer raptors. This merlin was captured by the Raptor at Sanna, while we also have visits from hobbies and hen harriers. At one time we used to see peregrines over Ormsaigbeg.
They can be very inquisitive birds. This is a juvenile which flew low, in long circles above us, until we began to think that we might end up as its lunch.
Many thanks to the Raptor for the use of his picture.