I'm sitting here with a cup of coffee as it gets light enough to count the greylag geese in the field
outside. There are forty seven of them. In the half light I began to doubt my identification skills, as
their white rumps seemed such a brilliant white that I couldn't believe they were the old familiar
birds that are so often here. Their necks seemed a little longer too. Canada geese? They do
sometimes visit, but not usually in such large numbers. It's a little lighter now, and they are
definitely greylags – just joined by about another dozen.
They are enjoying pecking around the mown grass for insects. It wasn't entirely my plan, but
Robbie topped the fields last weekend and left the cuttings behind. They will be good to feed the
growing grass, and the remaining grass is a little longer than usual so there will be something to
feed Kirsty's ponies, Ruby and Dulcie, over the winter and they won't need so much hay. But that's
not ideal for the wild flowers that I have been nurturing. They don't like the competition of really
The meadows were glorious this summer – a sea of yellow buttercups with a pinkish red haze of
flowering grass above it. Earler in the year I noticed the wild hyacinths (or bluebells, as they are
callled in England) are gradually spreading further into the bottom of the field.
Wildlife has really benefitted from the peace and stillness of lockdown earlier in the year together
with a warm spring, and for once I had the time to notice much more. I was able to spent more time
in my new fenced garden too, and it was lovely to hear the bees and hoverflies buzzziing around in
a large patch of borage. I have been surprised at just how much insects and butterflies have enjoyed
the verbena bonarienses – and how late in the season this is still happening. Oh, and a wren nested
under the bonnet of the old mower that is lurking in a corner awaiting disposal.
The first sunshine of the spring had the herons – about half a dozen of them – lined up on the side of
the island that faces the chalets, stretching their wings and enjoying the warmth of the sun. I can see
one now standing on the promentary facing west, but he's working – well, standing very still,
looking intently into the water for fish - not sunbathing.
Earlier in the week a guest showed me a photograph of four dead squid on the beach, one with the
tentacles chewed off. When he next looked they had all disappeared. I wonder if that was anything
to do with the herons or perhaps the otter?
There are buzzards around and one seems to be making himself very much part of the scenery. He
seems to have a favourite fencepost in front of the chalets, and sits there for long periods before
swooping on unsuspectiing small creatures. Perhaps that's because Robbie left a bit of longer grass
just there and it's somewhere for the mice and their friends to hide? I was intrigued to see the
buzzard on a different fence post the other day with a hooded crow on the next one along. Only a
few days ago there seemed to have been crow hysteria, mainly in and around the trees in Bishop's
Grave wood. About thirty of them were very noisily and busily flying around, and they were doing
much the same iin the trees between my house and the burn. That sort of behaviour often means
they are mobbing a buzzard.
Guests have told me in the last couple of weeks that they have seen an eagle (a sea eagle?) and that
there was a seal in the loch just near the island. That doesn't surprise me – earlier in the year our
resident key worker guest gave up fishing one morning as he said there was too muuch competition
from a seal that had frightened away the fish.
And last night I was on my way up to bed, but ended up sitting by the open patio door with a cup of
tea trying to make out the shapes of two rutting stags in the moonlight.