Saturday, 30 May 2015

The visit from afar

Early purple orchids along the top of the raised beach before the path meets the coast at Haunn.
Dozens of them.

Narrow leaved helleborine flowering beside the track.

See weed at Calgary on a sunny morning.

And a moment later, at the other side of the beach.

Butterwort on the Point.

A sleeping hen standing on one foot.

Water avens below the house.

Sea thrift.

A hare watches us from above.

Sea thrift and Sea arrowgrass.

Cotton grass by the boathouse.

A rare visitor to Argyll chose to dine at our bird feeders, I only photographed one but Prasad managed 3.  Tree sparrow.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Day one in the fank

It is Bank holiday Monday.  Whitsun.  The last Monday in May.  Everyone expects a little more warm than we have, although life carries on as if it is warm.   The car park at the beach is full. Lots of people enjoying a walk on the beach. 

Farmer has been getting ready for sheep work over the weekend.  Cleaning out the fank, sorting out the dosing gun, the injection needles, ordering and collecting the medicines.  He brought the Cheviots and the Zwarties up from the fields on the other side of Scoma in to the hill park so that they were easy to collect in when help arrived..

The ewes and lambs are gathered into the big holding pen outside the cattle shed.  Then the lambs are shed off into a pen separate from the ewes.  Today, they left two ewes in with the lambs to keep them calm.

Despite the occasional baaa for their mothers, there was an air of calm in the pens.

The lambs are vaccinated against clostidrial diseases found naturally in the soil here.  They are given a spray of Spot On to protect them against tick and fly, and off they go back into the field to find their mums.  We don't mark earlier as there is a risk of mis-mothering and we don't have room for any more abandoned lambs in the Stack yard shelter.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Field maintenance

It must be about 18 years ago when we last did any major ditching in this part of the Haunn field.  With increasing rainfall, and differing rain patterns (i.e torrential rains) the field drains and ditches have to deal with a lot more water and flash flood run-off, so when the ditches collapse and get blocked up, the wet areas inevitably spread and the balance in the field changes.  

Farmer has been worrying about some of the wetter areas of the Haunn field for a few winters now, and this spring we decided that we should clean out the ditches and drains in certain parts of the Haunn field and the Black Park, where the wet areas were beginning to encroach on better bits of ground, and the path of the invasive rushes creeps ever further...  

It was a shock at first, seeing the ditches so open and bare soil exposed. However James, who is doing the work for us, has been careful to lay the turfs back the right way up on the banks of the ditches where he can so that the flora is not too adversely affected.  He has done a very careful job. And it will green over.  It is good to see the water that has been sitting, creating what Farmer calls a cold bog, to see that water flowing away.  

In other boggy parts of the in-by the bog myrtle has been flowering and the leaves are just coming.  The bluebells are flowering too, lovely to see and to smell. 

There are wonderful boggy wet areas filled with fantastic clumps of marsh marigold and cinque foil, and other wet loving plants, and we certainly want to keep those areas damp and boggy, but they can get too stagnant and cold, if the excess water cannot get away.

We walked up onto the hill tonight after supper, to check the water supplies.  I couldn't believe the size of this Oak eggar moth caterpillar. 

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