Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wildlife update.

The juvenile robins are starting to appear in the garden again. After two months out of the nest the young birds start to grow some reddish feathers on their light spotted brown coat and can look rather scruffy. During the next few weeks the red patch will gradually extend to complete the sleek adult appearance. Both male and female are similar in appearance. They now start to assert their territory and will be heard singing loudly throughout the autumn and winter.
The pheasant chicks are now as big as their mother and the one male pheasant is now showing a few red feathers in his plumage. Last Saturday they were boldly sitting on the wooden fence in front of the cottage. The osprey and most of the swallows are now on their long journey back to Africa with their young.
We have not seen many red squirrels lately as they are having their second litter. If there is a good food source they will have two litters a year, one in April and another in August. The success of the breeding season depends on the seed crop of the trees where they live [acorns,hazel nuts,pine cones]as well as people like us putting out a never ending supply of free peanuts. While we were up at the cottage on Saturday I saw a mother squirrel run across the driveway carrying a baby in her mouth, similar to a cat carrying her kittens. We are looking forward to seeing the youngsters in the next few weeks chasing each other round the trees trunks, exploring the garden and clinging to the peanut feeders.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Book your seat early !

Placing the two garden chairs, the small table and the bench from Aspenwood on the nearby Loch Ness beach below our driveway has been a real success. We often see walkers stop and read the wording on the bench at the top of the path and then stroll down to enjoy sitting on the seats looking out onto Loch Ness and the mountains opposite. Before we have noticed that walkers kept walking thinking that the beach was private but now we encourage them to go down and relax by the waters edge. There is also a growing collection of bits of pottery,interesting stones,feathers and coloured glass resting on the rocks by the chairs. We have been left several notes carefully placed under a large stone on the small table thanking us for the chance to sit down after a strenuous walk so we are going to leave a waterproof bag containing a notebook and pen for anyone to write down their thoughts of Loch Ness.
On a good evening we stroll down there ourselves with a spot of refreshment and watch the sun set..... CHEERS.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Boleskine Wetland Project.

Monday was a warm blue sky sort of day so after a good breakfast we set off on the Easter Boleskine walk. Bit wet underfoot through the forest in front of our house and we were glad to get up to the road leading to Foyers and along to the gate of Easter Boleskine. The next bit we find the most strenuous part of the round trip - a rather steep climb up the path to the house - but well worth it as there there are stunning panoramic views looking down onto Loch Ness. In front of the house there is an established forest trail and a very ambitious project is now taking place nearby on a piece of land owned by the Forestry Commission for Scotland. The project has been mainly engineered by the owners of Easter Boleskine House, Frank and Katie.
This project was started back in 2007 and after much hard work and fund raising the wetlands is finally beginning to take shape. The view from inside the new hide is breath taking with the backdrop of the mountains and Loch Ness.
The variety of wildlife using the wetlands is already better then expected for the area.While we were there we saw several large dragonflies, different species of butterflies, a tiny brown toad and the acrobatic swallows were performing with delight.
Find out more about this very interesting Boleskine Wetland Project.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Heather on the hills.

On the way back from Inverness yesterday via Daviot we were surprised to see so much purple heather on the hills. There is usually a good showing in mid September. Guess the rain of late and the warm temperatures has encouraged the flowers to bloom earlier. Passed Bonnie the tame deer in her garden enjoying a break in the sun.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

'Ness Express' success..

The Ness Express boat service which started in April 2009 has been a great success with the general public as well as our own guests. It can seat 12 people and travels at the exhilarating speed of 30 knots. It leaves Fort Augustus four times during the day and goes up to Urquhart Castle jutting out on Loch Ness and back, a trip of about 90 minutes. We do enjoy waving to the passengers as they zoom past the house often accompanied by loud shrieks of excitement. This trip is now included in the new Trips by Boat folder in Aspenwood. This also includes the dolphin trip from Chanonry Point on the east coast, the seal trip from Plockton on the west coast and several trips on Loch Ness as well as other local trips of interest.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Great spotted woodpecker.

While we were talking to our new guests yesterday evening in the cottage and looking out of the window at the view the great spotted woodpecker suddenly alighted on the nut feeder outside the lounge window. Our guests were thrilled as they had not seen one at such close quarters before. We have often seen him on our feeders and it is good to know that he really puts himself about the area.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer sunsets

A good bright week with warm temperatures interrupted by the occasional short shower. Even though it rained during the day yesterday there was still an amazing sunset in the late evening.Taken another bench down to the beach and have been relaxing by the shore of Loch Ness in the evening watching the beautiful sunsets. We are often joined by passers by who are enjoying the scenery and we have met some interesting people this week.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Lunch at Dores Inn.

A very warm breezy day with temperatures hovering in the mid 20C and a welcome change from the recent overcast showery days of late. Drove 7 miles to the village of Dores at the eastern end of Loch Ness and took a walk along the crescent beach and then into Torr Woods. Enjoyed a 2 hour leisurely stroll through the woods and worked up a good appetite for lunch at the Dores Inn. The Inn was packed and it was a good job that we had booked. There was a good choice on the menu and lunch was tasty and very enjoyable.