Monday, April 25, 2011

Culbin sands Nature Reserve.

Guests staying at Aspenwood Cottage the other week enjoyed a day out at Culbin Sands RSPB Nature Reserve, about 1.5 miles east of Nairn and situated between Nairn and Findhorn Bay on the east coast.
Overlooking the Moray Firth this Nature Reserve has one of the largest shingle and sand dune bars in Britain which shelters an extensive saltmarsh. Much of the reserve is remote and undisturbed.
Take a gentle stroll along the sands or sunbathe by the sandy cliffs watching the sand martins nesting in spring. Bar-tailed godwits, oystercatchers and knots flock at high tide. Large numbers of seaducks can be seen offshore in the winter months. Whatever the season there is a wide variety of different species to see at Culbin Sands Nature Reserve.
Thanks to Barbara and Steve for kindly sending these photos for others to see.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Walk to Easter Boleskine

Sunday was a lovely day with temperatures of about 18C so we left all work behind and went on a long leisurely walk starting along the path in front of our house and up to the lane. Here we turned right and along the lane to Easter Boleskine gate on the left. Passed through the gate and climbed up the rather steep slope to Easter Boleskine House.
The view of Loch Ness from the top was worth the climb and we could still see snow on the very tops of the mountains in the distance. Walked along to the recently renovated Boleskine Wetlands Project and were quite glad to sit in the hide for a while taking in the view of the pond and all the busy insects skimming over the surface.
 Continued strolling through Farigaig Forest listening to the birdsong and looking at the various species of wild plants such as the delicate wood sorrel shown below and the beautiful dappled effect of the sunlight streaming through the tall trees.
This is always a lovely peaceful walk, occasionally meeting other fellow walkers and their energetic dogs. It took us a couple of hours at a very leisurely pace and is about a 4 mile round trip. A good walk from the doorstep of Aspenwood Cottage with so much to see.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring is in the air.

Last weekend we had a 'Highland Heatwave' with gorgeous high temperatures and sunshine galore. The rest of the week has been changeable with welcoming short showers to cool down the warm spring weather which allowed for plenty of work tidying up the garden. The birds, bees and red admiral butterflies appeared and the wild primroses were on show sprouting up on the woodland carpet and along the roadside verges.
The male pheasants have been in hot pursuit of any female in its path causing much squawking and fluttering in the nearby bushes. Guests have reported seeing the red squirrels and the great spotted woodpecker at the feeding platform during their stay in Aspenwood Cottage.
At the Osprey Centre at Loch Garten the 14 year old female-EJ and her mate Odin have started their family for the ninth year by laying one egg at 4.30am yesterday morning. Follow the action live on the webcam on their nest;- Loch Garten webcam.
In the fields near the village of Dores the lambs are enjoying their first days in the world especially in the warm sunshine although life can be rather tiring at times!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Spring has sprung at last.

The month of April blew in with very windy wet weather but that did not deter the first brave sailors taking to the water in cruisers and the odd yacht. The colourful  'Fingal' activity barge made its first appearance of the year on its journey down to Fort Augustus and was smashing into the white water with waves crashing spectacularly over the bow. In between showers the birds rushed to feed although this female pheasant was caught out in the rain and took shelter under the blossom bushes. Luckily she did hide where she did as a moment later the sparrowhawk zoomed down looking for his lunch but left with nothing. Today it is dry and sunny with a promising weather forecast for the week ahead and hopefully it will stay that way. 

Monday, April 04, 2011

Red squirrels at Aspenwood

While we were up at Aspenwood Cottage on Saturday morning we spotted this red squirrel emerging from Farigaig Forest, run along the platform fence and enjoy a good feed of the peanuts. Although we have seen them dash across the roads lately they have not made much of an appearance at the cottage feeders so it really cheered us up to see them back. They do not hibernate in the cold weather but they do store food in the ground for a cold day. Glad to see they have made it through the winter and we shall be looking out for more.