Sunday, 29 March 2009

It's been a hard day's Night!

Well - what a week! Left Mull last week to travel to the Borders for my RSPB Induction Course. A great bunch - about 20 of us and we instantly gelled - sometimes on courses you get a personality who upsets the apple cart, but this bunch were great - there was actually one point where I laughed so hard I thought my ribs would crack - havent laughed that much for ages. Whilst there, we were treated to a pair of buzzards, a tawny owl outside my bedroom window and a dipper. It was lovely to see magpies and squirrels - neither of which we have on Mull - forgot how stunning a magpie is!

Picked up the Eagle Van in Glasgow - had a quick tour round the Kelvingrove - what a beautiful building! before heading back to Oban to see the Red Hot Chilli Pipers! What a disappointment! We were told they would be on stage about 8 - as we had to leave about 10.00 to get the last boat back, we were told we would only miss the last 15 mins or so. They eventually came on stage at 9.40 - so we saw precisely 20 minutes - boy I was grumpy! Finally made it back to Mull about midnight - what a great feeling getting into your own bed - it was bliss!

Did my stint for Eagle Watch and had a great view of our female - against the blue sky, she looked stunning as always - I'm sure she came over just to say, welcome home! Tonight as we went to shut the chickens in, a barn owl was hunting out the back - then the phone rang from one of our neighbours to say a short eared owl had been out our way for the last 4 nights. Finally, remember to check in our nestbox which has a camera to discover a resident - a blue tit!

Its great to be back home!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Goodbye my friend!

My most faithful friend has gone! She has left a huge gap and it feels like I have lost my right arm. She was 13 years and had suffered a couple of strokes and we had to make the hardest decision to have her put to sleep. She was the gentlest, most faithful, lickiest, waggiest tail dog and just wanted to be wherever you where.
But we have 4 new family members Charley, Henrietta, Nuggett and Freckle - they arrived last Sunday and on Monday we had 2 eggs - they are great to watch and have continued to give us eggs - they have settled in so quickly and Pepper, the cat just nonchanently walks past them with a haughty air that only a cat can do.
On Monday, my first day as "White Tailed Eagle Information Officer" (I feel I should stand to attention and salute) - I saw 8 juveniles feeding on a carcass, one was one of the youngsters satellite tagged last year,either Mara or Breagha (see Dave Sexton's blog
Having been present on the day they hatched, to then see one grown and looking so healthy and fending for itself was quite an emotional moment!
The next day we saw 6 youngsters playing tag along the ridge of our local glen - and they call this work! I still have to pinch myself that I am being paid to do this!
Anyway, away for a week to the Borders for a training course leaving he who must be obeyed tokeep house and make sure the wee one gets to school on time, does her homework, feeds the chickens, and of course earn a crust.
I'm sure any osprey fans will be aware several have arrived back this weekend - the female is on the Loch of the Lowes nest and you can see her on the webcam
Spring has finally sprung methinks!

Monday, 9 March 2009

Lazing on a sunny afternoon

Today, the weather has been a mixture of sunshine (warm!), blue skies, hail, thunder and lightening. I arrived home from work this afternoon, pottered about in the garden filling the bird feeders, and got the feeling I was being watched. A quick glance round and I found these sitting over the fence in our "Swamp" sunbathing. They looked so chilled - they are regular visitors and I often find myself talking to them (cue: men in white coats).

We stayed down at the other end of the Island at the weekend - I went prepared with bins, scope excited at the prospect of a couple of hours communing with nature. But someone on a higher plane had a much different idea - lashings of rain in a horizontal type fashion and freezing cold - I managed to chalk up 1 lapwing and a buzzard stood at the size of the road looking miserable. So returned home, to check out the paint charts for the next room to receive my painting skills.

Well, I am working my last week at the small village school - ready to leave this Friday the 13th (should I stay at home?).

On Monday, I start something new - I hesitate to call it work because for me work is the last thing it is. I will sport the title "White tailed eagle Information Officer" working for the RSPB. Anyone who remotely knows me, will know my passion for these birds - they truly take my breath away and to be given the opportunity to work with them is a dream come true (sorry - you may use a bucket if you wish!).

I will be working up at Loch Frisa where the famous "Skye" and "Frisa" who featured in Springwatch and Autumnwatch have their home. I shall be sharing my passion with visitors to the hide - so if you are on Mull, come and say hello - I cant wait!

And on Sunday, we are off to collect the new additions to the family - 4 hens -think of a million recipes involving eggs - fried, scrambled, boiled, poached, cakes, omelettes ..........mmmmm.

The ankle is making a slow recovery - I have ditched the crutches as they were more of a hindrance than a help - crutches, ice and snow do not go well together.

Spring is just around the corner now - daffs are out and Roy Dennis reports that one of his ospreys, Beatrice, has started her migration north (another one of my fave birds). I love this time of year with the anticipation of what is to come.