Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Rain, lots of it

We have had lots of rain recently.   At the weekend, weather from the west meant strong winds and heavy rain.   On one day alone we recorded over 90 mm (over 3 inches) and the a run off stream from the hill behind us became a torrent.  Fortunately it runs steeply and directly into the sea, because otherwise, that ominous forecasters' phrase 'disruptive rain' would be appropriate.  As an aside, forecasters have some intriguing words to describe rainfall; one I heard recently and am puzzling over is 'organised rain', whatever that means.

In fact there have been few dry days recently and the recent poor weather confirms that the best time to visit Skye is either May or October, not in late summer.

There are still a few insects about such as common carder bees and white tailed bumblebees hunkering down on plants against the rain, mainly devil's bit scabious, goldenrod and autumn hawkbit. Fox moth caterpillars are everywhere.

White-tailed Bumblebee

Fox Moth Caterpillar

Besides fox moth caterpillars there are a few other moth caterpillar species such as knot grass and what I think is a ruby tiger moth, (not certain because I have never caught an adult on the croft) which I found during a break in the rain.  

Probably a Ruby Tiger Caterpillar
Knot Grass Caterpillar

A few fungi are also making an appearance.   Needless to say endless work is needed to get anything like an identification of them and maybe I will compile a list in a future note.

The real highlight though has been regular sightings of golden eagles.  A bird perches on the summit of a modest hill, Beinn Reireag Bheag (225m) at the north end of Scalpay, roughly 2.5km away and therefore  a scope is needed to see it.  Typically it sits there almost motionless for 20 to 30 minutes then takes off either to the east side of Scalpay and out of view, or towards Raasay to the north. One day we saw two eagles together in the late afternoon on the thermals.

Incredibly the sun is now shining and so that is all for now and I am off outside.