We have never seen dolphins so early in the year; previous sightings have been in July and August. It was also odd that they came up Loch na Caraidh even though there is a shallow neck at the south east end (probably no more than 4 metres deep) which joins the loch to Broadford Bay where they probably came from Dolphins are definitely one of my proposed "Ard Dorch's Big 5", the others being Otter, Pine Marten, Red Deer and Eagle (Golden and / or White-tailed, take your pick), and the secobd most difficult to spot
Elsewhere things have been more predictable as spring progresses. The bluebells are massing to turn fields blue probably next week. Summer migrants have just about all returned - siskins, stonechats and common sandpipers being the latest arrivals. A pair of cuckoos have been circling the croft relentlessly pursued by sentry meadow pipits. I am at the stage now where the call is just about getting on my nerves especially at 3.30am after the initial enthusiasm when they first arrived. Butterfly orchid plants are beginning to show leaves.
No otter activity sadly in the last couple of weeks. The trail camera picked up nothing, and the paths around the holt are sprouting bracken and bluebells.
I put the moth trap out last Wednesday near the croft boundary within a few yards of flowering willows and bracken. Steve at the other end of the village caught a puss moth in a similar trap position two weeks ago, and I got a couple of these rather splendid moths which are associated with willow. Other species that I had not seen so far this year included a Streamer, several Glaucous Shears, a Pine Beauty and a Brown Silverline, bringing the 2014 year to date total to 16 species.