Monday, June 30, 2008

Just hanging around.....

The red squirrels can be very acrobatic and entertaining in their quest for food and are often seen on the nut feeders in the early morning.
They have rather short front legs but long hind legs which are a great aid for leaping about among the branches and away from any danger. They also have amazing sharp claws which can be extremely useful when hanging almost upside down as this cheeky one demonstrates.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Watch the birdie.

Lots of bird activity in the garden this week - with the usual arrivals of siskins, chaffinches, robins, dunnocks, blackbirds and most members of the tit family. Our first baby robins have been spotted on the bird table and a collared dove came to sit on the roof of the bird house. The great spotted woodpecker has landed on the nuts very fleetingly and the hungry sparrowhawk has been zooming around and scattering all the bird life for hours.
We have seen two quite rare visitors. The first was a pair of brightly coloured bullfinches flitting about on the shrubbery and eating the young blueberries.

Yesterday afternoon we spotted the magnificent osprey hovering over Loch Ness right in front of the house. Unfortunately it was quickly attacked by a family of hooded crows who are nesting nearby. Even though it was much bigger it conceded to the rowdy gang and flew away.
On both occasions I had to be very quick with the camera and only had time to take one photo. Hopefully there will be many more sightings and I shall be ready.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Woodland creatures

Red squirrels are frequent visitors to the nut feeders both here and at Aspenwood Cottage. Guests have watched one sitting on the fence and carefully taking nuts out of the feeders washed down with a drink from the bird bath.It has been a very good year for red squirrels. They must have bred well last year as well as having access to a local plentiful food supply. The resident deer and offspring often appear outside Aspenwood especially on the grassy bank at the rear of the cottage. She could possibly be pregnant with this years offspring.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hare of the cat !

Our black cat Maisie was sitting quietly looking out of the window at the hectic bird life and deciding whether to make the effort or not when she started growling at something down the bottom of the driveway. Nobody was walking along the path but on closer inspection with binoculars there was a large brown hare having his grassy breakfast at the top of the path leading down to the beach on Loch Ness. The slightest noise spooked him and he was soon up and running along the front path.

When our other cat Daisy didn't appear as usual for her breakfast we were concerned as eating is her main hobby. After a couple of hours we were very worried so Maisie and I walked along to the white cottages and back, me calling her name and Maisie crying very loudly-I'm sure she knew her sister was missing. Something worked because Daisy suddenly appeared out of the wet undergrowth and we all ran back home....crisis over. After a double breakfast and a game they are now both fast asleep and very happy to be together.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lifeboat in action.

Been in touch with the new RNLI Lifeboat team based at Temple Pier at Drumnadrochit near Urquhart Castle and they kindly sent more photos and an update of some of their recent rescues. They certainly do a grand job on Loch Ness. From where we live - on the shore of Loch Ness - we often see people on boats not really understanding how dangerous the enchanting and inviting deep waters of the loch can be.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

New RNLI lifeboat on Loch Ness.

On Saturday morning we had great excitement when the huge yellow RAF Search and Rescue helicopter whizzed over Loch Ness near the village of Inverfarigaig churning up the waters. On closer investigation we realised it was co-ordinating with the new RNLI lifeboat on the water beneath it.

Launched in April 2008 Loch Ness is now home to the first RNLI lifeboat on the inshore waters of Scotland and it is the first time in 13 years that the RNLI has placed a lifeboat in a new location in Scotland.The joint training exercise with the RAF Search and Rescue helicopter involved the existing local volunteer lifeboat crew undertaking a variety of training exercises as well as operating with the winch.
See the video we took from Inverfarigaig.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Siskins everywhere.

A new hatch of mottled baby siskins have been descending on the bird table regularly now and quickly devour everything in sight. The male of this species has bright yellow-green plumage with a distinct black patch on the head and some other dark streaks. It was once admired so much it was kept as a cage bird under the name of 'aberdevine'. They are present all year round in Scotland and thrive here mainly because of the abundance of their favourite habitat of coniferous woodland.The female of the species is less brightly coloured and rather drab.The siskin is a member of the finch family and is closely related to the goldfinch.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Playful red squirrel.

A cheeky red squirrel had fun and games in the garden early this morning. He had a good look at all the colourful garden ornaments under the bird table and even sat on the head of the concrete squirrel, knocking it over in his quest for peanuts. He quickly found the feeders above him and enjoyed his nutty breakfast. After a long feed he raced down and seemed to look for mischief, his beautiful long tail flying behind him in the breeze. He ran around for a while and then scampered up onto the green garden bench. Now he knows where the food source is he will return and I shall be ready with my trusty tripod. I've placed a bowl of nuts in their shells under the bird table and hope that he will find these and stay eating for a while longer...we will wait and see.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Enjoy the sunset.

A smashing day in this part of the world yesterday and had a very pleasurable day in Inverness for our business and shopping duties. After dinner as we sat outside talking over our day we witnessed a wonderful sunset at 10.45pm -amazing how it's staying lighter later....experience what we saw.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Deer visits Aspenwood.

This handsome youngster was a welcome visitor to the garden area near to the birdtable at Aspenwood Cottage last Saturday morning.We are pretty sure it is a male deer as the downy antlers are now beginning to be quite prominent.We are always amazed by their huge ears.He was quite curious and allowed us to take several photos before bounding back down the hill to mum. When we arrived home they were both feeding on the grass and bracken on our front bank and seemed very happy and content in the warm sunshine.