Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Midsummer flowers and chicks hiding under the container

Clover is the built in nitrogen in our grassland, as we don't use artificial fertilisers.

Middle Cottage, with beachcomber treasure in front of the kitchen window. It is very peaceful and quiet down at Haunn. The corncrake has not been heard for a few days, which hopefully means they are just privately getting on with breeding.

We had important visitors today - and they were great! The Man from Butterfly Conservation Scotland and the local Recorder (moths and butterflies) came to look at our 'in bye', joined by Prasad. B C S advise on applications to the SRDP for conservation management, and we are hoping to get their support for what we do here with grazing, cutting late silage and stock numbers to encourage biodiversity particularly in relation to British Action Plan species such as Marsh Fritillaries and Burnet Moths and. It was so interesting walking round with people who really know their stuff, and great to hear that we have suitable areas for both the Marsh Frits and the rarer burnet moths.

We spent most of the day wandering through the grassland looking at different habitats, and abundant wild flowers, talking grazing regimes and stocking densities. (bliss).

I saw my first cinnabar moth - see Prasad's photograph as it is much better than mine.

Ragged Robin is popping up all over the species rich grassland we call the 'in bye'.

And below the Treshnish Cottages, near the Ensay Burn, bladder campion is flowering and also beginning to go to seed. Prasad showed us the Thyme Broomrape in the same place. Many thanks again to TP., AS., and Prasad for their input today.

Tucking in at the trough, before bed, at the end of another day, the four pet lambs are much more independent now. Brownie (Zwartble) has grown the most, followed by Bob (Cheviot cross), followed by Breeze (same) with the smallest one being Brian (Blackface).

And last but not least. The hens have won. And we were so determined not to have dozens of chicks this summer after the many broods we had last year! Probably our oldest hen (a Scots Dumpy bantam) managed to hide her eggs for 21 days, in a place there is no way we could see let alone get to. Finally we heard the cheeping of the fluffy little chicks on Midsummers Day! Now all we have to do is catch her so we can feed the chicks properly.
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