Sunday, 9 March 2014

Hunt saboteurs?

Cap was helping the Farmer this morning on the feed run.   The ewes who were scanned for twins are on the Point at the moment.  There is alot of roughage out there, and Farmer is feeding them Ewe Nuts as well.  It was not a good start to the day to find that one of the ewes had died since feeding time yesterday.

This ewe has been scanned, fed appropriately for twins, condition scored, treated against fluke, whatever could have been done to keep her healthy had been done, and still she died. It is soul destroying for any farmer or crofter to lose an animal, and after nearly 20 years he still hasn't got used to it.  As is the way with farming on the island, nature takes its course and by the time he had found her this morning, the birds had started to feed on her.  

He was first alerted to the fact that there was a dead ewe, by the sight of the birds hovering slightly further up from where he was feeding them.  He started to walk up to see what it was, and as he walked over the brow of the hill, he saw the Sea Eagle on the ground picking at her carcass, not more than 10 metres away. A fairly incredible sight.  As he was coming off the Point, he spotted the male Hen Harrier coursing the wetland and gullies beside the Coronation Meadow.

Farmer came back to the house and suggested I went with him to see if the sea eagle might still be there, so armed with my longest lens, we headed back to the Point but unfortunately there was no sign when we got back out there. Only hoodies and gulls.  

I took photographs whilst Farmer walked back to get the quad and trailer.  We have an island dispensation about burying our animals on the farm.  On the mainland you have to get them taken away and disposed of, but we can bury them in specially noted sites away from water courses etc.   It can be difficult if a ewe dies out on the hill, in an inaccessibly place, but luckily Farmer could reach this one with the quad.

On our way back off the Point, we spotted the Hen Harrier again, this time being mobbed by a group of hoodies - the hunt saboteurs....!

I am sorry the images are so fuzzy but I was hand holding and my lens was not really long enough.  You can just make out the fan of his tail...

Yesterday was the 3rd Sustainable Mull and Iona Renewables Fair to be held - at Craignure Hall. It was slightly thwarted by the weather, as yesterday was very windy and Calmac cancelled the Oban to Craignure ferry, amongst many others on the west coast! It meant that some of the speakers and the exhibitors were stuck the wrong side of the water!  However, for those who did turn out, it meant they could take advantage of the exhibitors and advisors who were there.   I like the look of this turbine designed by Hugh Piggott, from Scoraig.  You can do a course to learn how to make one for yourself.

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