Monday, September 27, 2010

Ducks in Dores.

A bright weekend but very chilly with reports in the local newspaper of a 2 inch covering of snow on the Cairngorm Mountains, enough for children to enjoy but not enough for skiing just yet. Took a trip into Inverness on Sunday and stopped at the Dores Inn on the way back for a walk along the beach and to enjoy the view...this is one of our favourites. The car park was quite full of people having Sunday lunch and the resident ducks were, not surprisingly, full up too. The Jacobite Queen came into view sailing along close to the opposite shore after taking passengers on a trip to Urquhart Castle and back to Inverness.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Peacock Butterfly..

A sunny bright day today but with a chilly wind from the north so wrapped up warm and took a stroll up to the post box to dispatch some mail. The return journey was very pleasant and it was surprising just what you can observe if you look closely.

 I was very surprised to see a Peacock Butterfly which, although it is quite a common garden butterfly in England and Wales, it is quite rare in Scotland and I have never seen one before. It came to rest on a piece of blue plastic membrane and seemed to be sunbathing although it could have just been eating as they feed well in autumn to build up fat reserves for their winter hibernation. The striking eye patterns on the wings are used to scare off predators and they are so named because the colourful patterns are similar to those seen on the feathers of the peacock bird.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Quite a bit of rain and windy weather over the weekend and it was fascinating to watch the spiders sheltering close to the windows for protection. We wondered if they are all on the World Wide Web. We do not like to disturb their amazing webs after all their hard work and this is the main reason we do not clean the outside of the windows very often....does anyone believe me?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Our day.

As we looked out of the bedroom window early this morning we spotted a lone deer munching away on the front grass bank at something really tasty before trotting off down the track to the beach to have a drink from Loch Ness. Yesterday evening the family of three deer, mum and two youngsters, arrived at the bottom of the driveway for a grassy supper before strolling casually up to Aspenwood Cottage.The loch is much calmer today and the sun is shining so we went to get some shopping from the larger and newly refurbished Tesco 24 hour Extra Store at Inshes which re-opened was very busy but this new store is much more nearer to us and to Aspenwood than the Tesco Extra Store on the  A96. Arriving back home we met our guest packing up his kayak, which had been parked near our garage, onto the top of his car for the journey back home tomorrow. During lunch we saw a surprising lot of bird life about, so the sparrowhawk must be having a nap, which reminds us to order more bird food of various types next week. Daisy chased a red squirrel down the driveway but fortunately she is not the most athletic of cats and it disappeared nimbly up a tree.
Have a good weekend everyone.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Somewhere over the rainbow......

Yesterday we had big plans to go to the Highland Wildlife Park near Aviemore followed by a picnic at Loch Morlich for a birthday treat but the weather put a stop to all that. The forecast did predict very unsettled weather with strong gusty winds of 50mph and heavy rain and unfortunately they were right! We could see the rain falling on Loch Ness and decided on Plan B.
So we settled on a lazy day indoors with the newspapers with a few drinkies followed by a lovely roast beef dinner and watched the ever changing weather patterns.
 This week we have guests who have brought their kayak to put into Loch Ness and we were beginning to think they would not be able to use it at all. However today the weather is much calmer and our guest has been to collect the craft and is now out enjoying himself on the loch. We allow canoes and kayaks to be parked outside our house for quick access to the loch.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Before going up to Aspenwood on Saturday morning we had a visit from a family of three roe deer who kindly mowed the grass for us on the front bank. Arriving at the cottage we found Philip the pheasant sitting on the top of the feeding fence very annoyed that all the bird seed had been eaten. There is always a good variety of birds on the feeding fence as well as at the peanut and suet ball holders but they have to eat while keeping an eye open for the predatory sparrowhawk. During the morning a very small red squirrel was munching away at the peanuts but suddenly something spooked him and it took off balancing like an Olympic gymnast all the way along the top of the fence and then disappeared up the aspen tree.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Unusual guests.

All the bird feeders are filled up every day but sometimes we do get rather unusual guests taking advantage of them. After searching on the ground and drawing a blank this male pheasant flew up on to the thinnest branch possible after watching the birds feed at the nut feeder in the tree. He knew there was food in the containers but just could not reach even though he tried his best and wobbled about quite dangerously. After a while he gave up, flew down and squawked back up to Aspenwood to check out the menu up there.
The evening shift brings out the long tailed mice who scramble nimbly up the tree trunk and dine on the peanuts without a care in the world.
Luckily for them our two Loch Ness Monsters were taking a rest after an exhausting day - bless.

Friday, September 03, 2010

September sunshine.

The month of August departed with a wet and windy week. On Sunday evening the temperatures on the highest tops of the Cairngorms dropped to below freezing point and some high peaks had 'powder snow' which a Mountain Weather Spokesman said was quite rare in August. This week the temperatures here have dropped to single figures at night giving a slight chill in the evenings and mornings. However the days have dawned with a clear blue sky and the temperatures climb gradually during the day to almost 20C with a lovely warm easterly breeze. We have taken full advantage of this glorious weather and gone out for a few drives in the local area - great to think these views are just a short drive away from Aspenwood. The water on the lochs sparkled like diamonds, the heather is beginning to flower on the mountain slopes and the sheep seem to be content with life -  and so are we.