Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bird life update.

The numerous siskins do have to share the sunflower heart feeder from time to time with the chaffinches and goldfinches and on our shopping list today was another feeder and more sacks of sunflowers. The birds do not need any of our food at this time of the year and enjoy more natural foods such as the peanuts and sunflowers, blaeberries on the bushes carpeting the forest floor and insects that are now freely available.
Newcomers to the area have been a pair of grey wagtails. They appear on the fence and bob up and down for a while and then chase each other down to lochside where they must have built a nest. They like to nest near rushing water and feed on the insects flying above the water surface.
The coal tits have been seen collecting the cats fur for their nests and they must have the best lined nests in the forest. After giving the cats a good brushing we throw the fur on the brush near to the feeders to be collected later for a worthy cause.
We have spotted the osprey three times flying high above Loch Ness and will wait to see any youngsters flying with the parents in the next few months. April and May are very busy months for all birds whatever their size.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The siskin roundabout.

This month has seen the arrival of swarms of colourful siskins, one of the smaller members of the finch family. The male is a bright yellow-green with a black crown and the females are more streaked and less yellow in colour. In the breeding season they build their nests in coniferous woodland. At one time the species was confined to the pine forests of the Scottish Highlands but the 20th century practice of pine planting in Britain has greatly benefited the siskin and they are now seen more commonly throughout the country. They feed on the seeds of pine and spruce trees in Spring and early Summer although the crowd in our garden have taken a great fancy to the sunflower hearts in the feeder. Ray designed the tray underneath it to catch any food and stop it falling down onto the ground as we do not want to feed all the mice in the forest as well. The tray tends to act like a roundabout and increases in speed with the volume of birds on it...great fun to watch.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Primroses everywhere.

The warmth of the sun and the odd showers of rain have really helped the wild primroses to burst into flower. The bright yellow blooms are along the roadside verges, on the forest floor under shady trees and down grassy banks leading down to the shore of Loch Ness. Always a welcome sight to see in April and we feel like Spring has sprung at last here on South Loch Ness Side.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring lambs near Dores

The weather over the Easter weekend was glorious and we enjoyed sitting outside. The rest of the week was not so good and we have been experiencing a low cloud base and generally overcast weather. The good news is that the outlook for this coming Sunday and Monday is for wonderful long hours of sunshine and temperatures rising to 17C. This will no doubt please the lambs we drove past yesterday in the fields near Dores.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Life on the ocean wave...

The first few days of April began with a lovely clear blue sky and temperatures well into double figures and we really enjoyed sitting outside in the fresh air. All changed this past week with overcast skies and good south westerly breeze producing lots of white water on the loch although it did remain dry. It is good to see so many boats out on Loch Ness even though at times they were bouncing up and down and crashing into the oncoming waves. Great fun to watch.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


April has heralded in some of our welcome returnees marking the beginning of another season. As we sat outside yesterday evening gazing over the loch and admiring the view we saw the unmistakable sight of Ollie, our resident osprey, soaring high up in the sky having flown in all the way from Africa for the breeding season. After mating and bringing their offspring into the world they build up their strength so that all the family can make it back to Africa in late August. On a much smaller note the colourful siskins are back and really enjoy the new sunflower heart feeder. Ray has cunningly adapted this feeder so that the precious food does not fall down to the ground for the mice but stays in the tray provided where it becomes another feeding station. Work has now been completed on the swing bridges over the Caledonian Canal, a process which made the entrance to Loch Ness inaccessible over the past few months. We have seen quite a collection of working boats, the sea lifeboat, pleasure cruisers and today 'The Lord of the Glens' liner glided along the loch from Urquhart Castle taking passengers on an Easter voyage.
The buds of the wild primroses are waiting to burst into flower but best of all the sun has returned to warm us all up at last and today we experienced a wonderful reflection on the waters of Loch Ness. Welcome April.