I had not realised how fast sand martins were. When Daughter and I went to join in the beach clean yesterday at Calgary I was watching a man with a huge camera and lens photographing the sand martins as they flew into their nests to feed their young.
This morning on my way to Dervaig, I thought I would have a go myself. Armed with 300mm lens and x 2 converter, I sat on the picnic bench across the burn. I didnt have to wait long, but I could quickly see there was a knack to this. The second image, in flight, had a shutter speed of 1/1600th but it was still blurred!
Farmer and J from Dervaig sorted the ewes and marked the lambs which the other J and Farmer had gathered yesterday afternoon from the Sitheans and above Toechtamhor.
At lunchtime, after they had finished the task at hand and returned lambs to their mothers, amidst great baaing in all directions, the other J arrived and they went off to gather the rest of the hill and all along the shore. They finished and were having a drink in the kitchen when I got home from Tobermory, and the rain hadn't quite started. An hour later though, it pelted down.
Guests in Duill had noticed a cow on her own in the Haunn field this afternoon and told Farmer. The rest of the herd were in the field beyond Haunn. After supper, Farmer and I dressed in head to toe waterproofs went to try and move her back in with the others. It was raining SO hard as we followed guests down the track. (taken through the windscreen on my phone!)
Luckily she did go in easily, just involved a little running in the rain! I did notice as we walked through the field that there are lots of Northern Marsh Orchids! We had to be quite careful where we stepped in one area.
By the time we had driven back to the farm, the sky had cleared and the sun was coming out again. As if a different day altogether!
Back in the winter, a meeting was held on the farm to look at nutrient monitoring. Treshnish had been chosen as one of 7 farms across Scotland to have our nutrients monitored with a view to helping us and other farmers look at the soil and its fertility in a more efficient way. As part of the process, we had the soil tested in different fields and some measures were recommended to us. Given the importance to us of looking at the soil from an almost organic viewpoint, in that we haven't used artificial fertiliser since 1997, it was going to be interesting for us to see how our fields compared to others on the island. We agreed to put rock phosphate on one field (we chose one which had the least biodiversity) and nitrogen on a small paddock. We will be able to compare previous yields with this summer and see if the applications have made any difference.
A neighbour had come over yesterday morning with his fertiliser spreader and applied it for us. Farmer then lent him our tractor so he had a way of loading for himself when he was doing his own fields. Tonight we went over the hill to collect it. The light was wonderful on Ben More. I hadnt got a long lens on so couldn't get any closer, but there was an extraordinary cast of light and shadow coming from somewhere and hitting the mountain and the cloud with the same beam.
A bit of recycling to make a postbox.
And on the way home the light got better and better!
The forecast for tomorrow is not good so they will re-convene to finish the sheep work on Wednesday all being well.