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Summer is here again...

We're enjoying long hot days up here at Roshven, It doesn't really get properly dark at this time of year so I have been watching bats hunting for their supper at midnight and stags grazing just outside the window and enjoying the sunshine at 5am.

There are often signs that they have visited during the night, but this week they have taken up residence for their summer grazing. There are eight of them in the front field this morning and I suspect the herd will grow over the coming days. They will stay round and about until it is time for them to go back up the hill for the rut in late summer.

Primroses are fading but bluebells are everywhere. The wild rhododendrons have been flowering for some weeks now and foxgloves are appearing here and there. I noticed the first yellow irises earlier in the week, and there are a few ladies' smock dotted around. I'll probably find wild orchids if I go to look for them.

It's not particularly rare, but I was delighted to find wild garlic the other day - something I want to encourage for the kitchen along with the sorrel which grows among the long grass. We're not short of nettle tops either! Once again I didn't get round to blanching dandelion leaves. I wonder if they will be too bitter if I try it now.....

Tomorrow Kirsty's sheep are being moved from Ephesus meadow to other grazing. She will cut the top off the remaining grass - not ideal timing, but we need to prevent the rushes taking over that part of the meadow, and hopefully some flowers will re-establish themselves there. The top end of the field by the road is very wet and I have allowed it to 'rewild' so some time soon I shall go to see what is happening there.

Magda's little Jersey cow, Sugar, has come back for summer grazing to her own small field we created for her last year. She's so pretty, but rather lonely so she enjoys people going up to her to chat and rub her nose. She can't have calves, so no milk for us, but she's lovely to have around.

A friend was out on the loch on Wednesday and saw a school of bottle-nosed dolphins off Ardnish point. And one of the fishermen spotted an otter at the mussel ropes lying on its back, sunning itself. Others have been seen this week, but so was a mink. One of the guests said he spent about five minutes watching it on the island. Not such good news and we'll need to keep an eye on what's happening there.

And on the subject of predators, there's a big red fox about. I saw him trotting around the field in front of the house a few weeks ago and he was seen again this week.

The wagtails are hovering about the windows and in the field catching insects and the swallows are here. Time to hone my bird spotting skills now that I can see so much better after eye surgery...........a whole new world out there!

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