Saturday, 12 April 2014

More of the Same! (Otter, eagle etc etc)

I put a 12 volt external battery on the trail camera to try to extend the operating time. I got 3 video clips on each of the 9th and 10th early in the morning.   This is the nicest, taken just after dawn on Thursday, April 10  of an otter grooming before heading off over the cliff presumably to the shore.

I must have just missed it - if it did go into the sea - because I was down at the shore at 07.30 am.   I did though see something interesting, an eagle between Ard Dorch and Scalpay.   It circled over to Scalpay and settled on a fence post for a few minutes, tested by gulls who mobbed it, then it flew around 50 yards away, finding something to peck at for a further 10 minutes or so.    It then hopped a few yards away where 7 hooded crows surrounded it, like jackals around a kill, taking turns to attack the eagle's head.    The eagle's reaction was one of disdain, putting up with the nuisance for 20 minutes or so, before it finally flew off over Scalpay.   We think it was an immature white-tailed eagle. It was lightish on the back with a distinctive pale patch on the back just below the neck. Evidence of a white tail was hard to see - early morning and distance being a problem.   I took photos but they were next to useless.

I saw our first returning migrant swallow yesterday (I have not checked but this seems very early) and we had a reed bunting on the feeders. 

Meanwhile despite showers I put the moth trap out on Thursday night with a catch of 19 moths  in total of which there were 5 species,  Hebrew Character, Clouded Drab, Red Chestnut and these two, a Common Quaker and an Early Grey moth.

Early Grey Moth
Common Quaker Moth

Tick Biting Parts

I took a walk over the grazings last Tuesday to Loch nam Madadh Uisge, (literally 'fox water') a small lochan above Luib, where there will be lots of water lobelia later this summer.   Flowering bog myrtle was everywhere and a few sedges and rushes were beginning to flower.   I also picked up my first deer tick of the year.   Potentially they can carry Lyme disease.   I used to spray ticks which had bitten into my flesh by spraying them with after shave (or cheap perfume, if closer to hand). The alcohol solvent causes them to loosen their grip and they can be picked off with tweasers.   However the local chemist in Portree cautioned against this approach because the spray can cause the tick to vomit and increase the risk of pathogens entering the bite.   So now I use a little prong which slides under the tick and a quick twist then removes it.  I have lost the packaging but I think the brand name is the O'Tom Tick Twister. It works most of the time but is far less satisfying than seeing the tick visibly unhappy with the alcohol spray, and the chance for some serious revenge.

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