Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Small Bird News

With the weather deteriorating and conditions for the small birds becoming steadily harsher - there's a near-gale blowing this morning - the competition at the seed feeders has become increasingly fierce, with the chaffinches now in almost complete control of the existing ones.

So we deployed a new bird feeder kindly given to us by PH which he had adapted for Ardnamurchan conditions using half an old plastic football. It's been fascinating to watch how quickly, or slowly, each of the bird species has managed to work out how to get at the seed.

First in were the tits, great and blue, way ahead of the chaffinches who could only watch on with growing frustration.

At an early point the blackbirds discovered they could lean in through the grille and just reach the seed, so some extra mesh was added to prevent this. It's not that we dislike blackbirds but they do,  given half a chance, hoover up the seed at an alarming rate.

The robins didn't have a clue, their only use for the new machine being to use the hanging attachment as a vantage point from which to spot, and then chase away other robins.

An early surprise was how quickly the dunnocks worked it out. They're usually horribly bullied by the chaffinches, so it must have been a pleasurable triumph for them.

One by one, the chaffinches began to work it out, but after a week only a small proportion are getting at the seed, the rest hanging around hoping some will fall out within reach.

The robins didn't even try but the yellowhammers have and are thoroughly frustrated - which is sad as they, again, suffer at the hands of the chaffinches.

No doubt all the chaffinches will work it out so we'll have to set a new challenge.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

A Winter's Evening

The short winter days do have compensations, not the least of them being that, occasionally, we have a sunset that's worth running up the road to capture.

For most of the year sunsets aren't visible from Ormsaigbeg because of the bulk of Druim na Gearr Leacainn behind us but, from the Twin's House at the end, for a few months, one can just see them.

I suppose that one of the compensations of being a fisherman is that, out on the open water, there's much less to get in the way of spectacles like a magnificent sunset. This is last night's sunset as seen by Kilchoan Early Bird, to whom many thanks, and features the creel boat Harvester in the foreground.

One of the pleasures of winter evenings is to spend them discovering more of the history of this place. Last night, the Ardnamurchan History & Heritage Association gathered together some of the long-time residents of this end of the peninsula and showed them a selection of the photographs we have been given. We had almost 120 to show - we actually got through just over half - the idea being to see how much information could be added to them.

This one had been tentatively identified as Ockle. It isn't - and some readers might like to take a guess as to where it is. What we still don't know is when it was taken.

This is another view which was discussed, with people identifying the exact location and to whom the buildings belonged. It looks to be about the same age as the earlier picture, but a reasonably accurate date eluded us.

Many thanks indeed to Dorothy Parker for the two photographs, and to the people who gathered in the Learning Centre last night. We hope they enjoyed their evening.

If anyone has old photos, documents or other material relating to Ardnamurchan which they are happy to share, then I am keen to digitise them so they can be available on the website AHHA is currently building. Please contact me at

Monday, 5 December 2016

The Future of the Ferry Stores

An Roth, the consultants who have been appointed by the Community Development Company and the Community Council to carry out a detailed analysis of future possibilities for the Ferry Stores, are holding an open meeting to discuss its future with members of the community at 7pm this Wednesday, 7th December, in the Community Centre - all welcome.

Amongst actions which they have already taken, they have invited expressions of interest in the freehold or leasehold: this advert appeared in last Thursday's Oban Times and this month's De tha Dol?.

Quiet Waters

This was the slipway first thing this morning, with the sun coming up over Morvern and hardly a ripple across the bay. High cloud continued into the early part of yesterday evening, and it was cloudy again this morning, but overnight the sky cleared and we had a sharp frost.

Nine teal had spent the night on the still waters of Lochan nan Al, just along from the shop, and were sleeping in, camouflaged against a frosty reed bed - this despite the first customers drawing up at the shop.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

An Unseasonal Yacht

Shortly after nine this morning we were surprised to see a yacht coming up the Sound heading to round Ardnamurchan Point - she's seen passing the light at Ardmore Point.

At lunch time the Tobermory RNLI lifeboat also passed us, but from the way it was stopping and starting, and weaving back and forth across the Sound, we guessed that its outing wasn't connected with the yacht but was probably a training exercise.