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Thread subject: News from Scotland
Name Date Message
AnneW 08/03/05 05:18 pm Hi everyone, I am back from sailing and have had to re-register as AnneW as I have left my laptop (and husband) on the boat in Oban. Needless to say, I have spent the last two hours catching up with the message board and looking at those wonderful pictures and video clips. I am so pleased that the youngsters have fledged sucessfully and all is well.

We have had a wonderful 4 weeks with mostly perfect weather. Scotland looks stunning when the sun shines, especially the islands. We visited Islay, Jura, Colonsay, Mull, Staffa and Rum, and only beat a hasty retreat to the mainland when a F7 blew up this week. Now Keith is patiently waiting for a couple of friends to join him and they will go on to Skye.

Of course I was keeping a lookout for birds all the time, especially ospreys. Unfortunately I did not see any but I did hear of some. Firstly I was told of a nest in Dumfrieshire and a live cam in Wigton. I am hoping that Tiger will have some information on this nest as we couldent get there. Secondly, I heard from the SNCC on Islay that ospreys regularly appear on the island on Spring migration but never stay to breed. Thirdly I heard a horror story from a Swedish birdwatcher on Mull. He said he had once seen an osprey swoop on a fish in a lake but the bird did not rise and struggled in the water for ages. Eventually it went under. Then several days later the osprey's body was washed up and it still had an enormous fish gripped in its talons. He said the fish was probably too large to lift but the talons had stuck and it couldent free itself. What a terrible end for this bird.

I saw lots of super birds including golden eagle and white-tailed eagle, hen harrier, peregrine and merlin. There were numerous seabirds of course including quite a few storm petrels that really do seem to dance on the waves and look just like sea swallows.

The highlight of the whole trip though was the penguin of Puilldobhrain (in Gaelic this means pool of the otter). We had anchored in this beautiful pool on a gorgeous evening when I noticed a razorbill edging towards the boat. These birds are members of the auk family and they are usually quite shy of boats and humans. But this one let us take real closeup photos of him and he just stayed there quite unperturbed at our presence. We soon realized why. He suddenly dived under the boat and we could see then that he was chasing a shoal of tiny fish. They twisted this way and that, but he flew through the water just like a penguin, and he caught lots of them. Every time he came up for air he gave a funny little grunt. This feeding frenzy went on for over an hour and because the water was so clear and so still, we saw everything. I even managed to take some pictures of him underwater. I will never forget that razorbill. It was one of those magic moments when you realize you are sharing the private world of a wild creature and that you are very privileged.

So now all I need to make my day is to see Brook and Haven again. I keep looking!
Tiger 08/03/05 05:57 pm Yes Anne

Tiger 08/03/05 05:58 pm Also see:
Tiger 08/03/05 05:59 pm Love the cartoon!
Tiger 08/03/05 06:02 pm Thanks ever so much for that report Anne. I was aware that ospreys do visit Mull.

If you remember thwey had a lively encounter with the sea eagles on Springwatch.

NB Springwatch was a major nature programme on the BBC back in June.

Celeste 08/03/05 07:26 pm Thank you Anne so much for describing your time away so vividly....particularly for myself across the ocean, it is nice to imagine what you saw....and once again thank you Tiger for all your info and references.
Marie 08/04/05 12:20 am What a lovely holiday Anne........and what encounters with those special birds. The joy one gets when one just watches something other than the human race. This experience generally brings home to one how precious all life forms are and how important they are to the BIG PICTURE. We are such a small part of this wonderful thing called creation, but we certainly leave OUR MARK and it isn't always positive.
Tiger 08/04/05 02:09 am Ah Celeste we aim to please! :)
Zara 08/04/05 04:52 am Sounds just perfect... are you able to share some of your photo's?? Did you see some amazing sunrises/sunsets? I am really hoping we do when we go. We are going to the East coast of Scotland near Dornoch.From our cottage we can watch the sunrise over the sea then in the evening it sets over by Loch Fleet. Last year I was down by Loch Fleet at 5.30am and saw 3 ospreys there, all sitting in the early morning sun preening... can't wait, 8 days to go.
AnneW 08/04/05 05:53 am Yes Zara, we saw some superb sunsets especially over Mull. The sunrises are not as spectacular being on the west coast, but one morning in Islay saw the whole sky a lovely pinky/mauvey colour which was reflected on the water.

You are going to an equally beautiful part of Scotland. I fell in love with that area when I went on a Heatherlea birdwatching tour a few years ago. It was mainly based on Speyside and the Cairngorms but we did go to the Black Isle and Dornoch one day. I hope you have a super time anyway and that the weather is kind to you. (Not much rain in Scotland this year, some islands have actually got a water shortage.)

I am not computer literate so I havent a clue on how to set up a photo page, but next time my son comes over, he has got a job to do for me!
AnneW 08/04/05 06:09 am The more I read your thoughts Marie, the more I agree with your values and view of nature. We ARE just a small part of the whole spectrum, unfortunately we have the means to do a lot more than we NEED to do, and to interfere with the lives of every other being on this planet. Only yesterday the newspapers here were hailing a cloned dog. It was a lovely dog, but I dont know if it is right to do that.

I read 'Redtails in Love' whilst I was away and I really enjoyed that book. Not just because of the story and facts, but because of all the pearls of wisdom in there. For example, the observation that Paleface had to find another mate when he lost First Love because of the overwhelming desire to reproduce. That is the 'raison d'etre' of all creatures except humans. Our main priority is the individual, not the survival of the species.

Sorry this one of those subjects you discuss over a glass long into the night and I expect most contributers to this board would share similar views.
Marie 08/04/05 09:39 am ;-)

When I arise in the morning and watch the sun come up on the horizon I am so thankful for another wonderful day of connections, ie at work, with family, friends, here on this page and also most of all with Nature.
Infact, I rejoice for I am ALIVE.

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Tom Throwe
Last modified: Sat Feb 18, 2006