Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Spring heaven

Wood anemones dripping in the mist yesterday, in the Haunn field.

But today. Another day. And with it sunshine and warmth.  Like a different world.  We went looking for Primroses at lunchtime.

There are remains of walls in unexpected places.  This one runs from the Haunn cottages down to the gate onto the Point.  East cottage guests were sitting in the sun outside the cottage, having their lunch by the look of things, when we walked past. (It was warm enough!)

Birds singing in the wetland area. Prasad is waiting for the Sedge warbler.

And some interesting double gate lamb proof arrangements. Farmer took the second gate off and leaned it against the dyke.

It is wonderful to re-discover the Primroses.  We were beginning to wonder if the sheep had eaten them all.    The photographs do them no justice at all.  The banks and sheltered cliff faces are covered in them.

Wood anemone abound in places where there is no other visible sign of woodland any more.

Dog Violet and Lesser Celandine.

 The faint island shape in the distance beyond the Dun is Iona.

After 18 years Farmer still doesn't tire of the view. (Don't tell him I posted this pic whatever you do.)

This overhanging rock has a small 'fank' carefully constructed by previous shepherds. You can see the stones piled to form a low wall.  We don't know how long ago it was made, but it will have been a useful holding pen perhaps for a sick animal.  Farmer had to lamb a gimmer along the coast the other day, and he used a similar cave to pen her and waited with her and the lamb to make sure they mothered up properly.  Shortly after the successful bonding had taken place, he left her and her lamb, to begin his walk back to the quad with Cap the collie.  Suddenly, out of the blue, with no warning, Cap leapt (as if stung, Farmer thought, by an adder) and killed a mink.  Farmer was astounded as Cap is no hunter.  The mink was killed instantly and Cap was unharmed. (Mink can be very vicious).

In 2005/6 we got a grant to do lots of different bits of regeneration and largely (to my mind) Due to Farmer's vision of wildlife corridors linking parcels of existing woodland across the in-bye, we were given a helping hand by the Forestry Commision and an ecologist was sent to survey the in-bye for interesting tree stories. He told us that this was Salix Arbuscula (mountain willow) and that this was quite special for a site this far south.  Prasad is not sure that it is Salix Arbuscula!

Calgary Beach from the Point with Ardnamurchan behind.

In the foreground, and slightly out of focus, is Sea Campion.  The feed plant for the very rare Grey Moth which is found here. Last year, Tom Prescott brought 2 moth experts with him to trap moths here, and the Grey was one which they really hoped to find.  In the end, they didn't see a Grey, but they did take some sea campion back to Aberdeen with eggs on it. And luckily for them, some of the eggs were from the Grey.

The Point used to be grazed with cattle as well as sheep, but we have not put our cows out here because the cliffs are SO steep.  We prefer people not to walk with dogs here if the sheep are grazing it.

I think this is Bitter Vetch.

The steep cliffs of the Point.

And the view back to Calgary.

Willow flowering.

A stonecrop emerging.

 And the prettiest wood sorrel. Again growing where there are no trees.

The primroses are difficult to photograph in their carpeting numbers.  But if you strain your eyes perhaps you can make out the yellow spots here. The style at the top of the picture is one Guy made last week.

Primroses again on almost vertical cliff.

A lot of rain.

Dog violet again.

 Colts-foot again.

King cup or marsh marigold in a wet bit of grasses.

Another bank of Primrose.

Wood anemone again.

Lesser Celandine again.

King cup growing in a sheltered burn guarded by willow.

Without fencing, this area of reeds would be heavily grazed.

We saw a pair of Golden Eagle, Ravens, Skylarks, Wheatear, white butterflies too far below us on the scary steep cliff to identify and just below the Haunn cottages a Peacock butterfly rested long enough for me to catch it on a primrose.

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