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Category Archives: Wildlife

Over the Fence

We have the roofless Blackford church with the snow dappled Ochil Hills to the south —

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and just up the lane towards Gleneagles Hotel and golfcourses a pair of roe deer are quietly grazing —

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Not much has changed since I lived here in my mid-teens over sixty years ago – unless we count in the water bottling plant down in the village of Blackford – just over the brow of the hill from the church. I remember when it started production all those years ago and thinking ‘bottled water’ – ‘it will never catch on.’

Highland Spring – drawn from the Ochil Hills – it was 1990 before the venture showed a profit but with oil money from the Emirates behind it there was no shortage of ‘start-up cash’ in hand.

I see in today’s press the owners of Highland Spring would like to expand again but are at loggerheads with the local Community Council who are not in favour of the plans which have been put forward. From where I sit I can see both sides of the coin and sympathise with both. Perhaps they should ask me to toss it for them – heads Water wins – tails they lose. It would save a lot of argument and nastiness all-round.

 

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2020 in out and about, Wildlife

 

‘Is a Shepherd’s Delight!’

Particularly when the weather forecaster’s have plumped for high winds and wet weather blowing in from the east —

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Thankfully they would appear to have it wrong. Right from ‘early doors’ when Loki came bounding out of his kennel – it has been brilliant sunshine all the way —

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with even a touch of frost first thing.

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It didn’t linger long and Loki’s tongue was soon hanging out even more than mine as we made our way across the fields above the village —

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with long shadows cast from the sun on my back —

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Hasn’t he got a lovely sheen on his coat as he prepares for the winter. He probably benefits from sleeping outdoors in his purpose-built kennel through any weather.

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Our favourite walk takes us across the bull’s field. Just as well they will soon be taken indoors for the winter because by the look of that shattered gate they could be arriving at our door without an invitation any time soon.bulls-1

This fella is probably the smallest of the nine bulls we have billeted around us at the moment but what he lacks in size he makes up for in tricky temperament – typical ‘little man’ syndrome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2019 in Gardening, Isle of Luing, out and about, Walks, Wildlife

 

While the Deer Run Wild on His Hilltop

We are surrounded by roe deer at this time of year.

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They keep an eye on our coming’s and going’s from the surrounding hill tops —

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and raid the garden day and night every chance they get.

Helen’s kale patch has been stripped bare and they are now turning their voracious appetite on our fruit trees and various shrubs.

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The roe deer appear to truly believe this part of the island including our garden belongs to them and that we are the interlopers —

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2019 in Gardening, Isle of Luing, out and about, Wildlife

 

By Yeti for Fir and Fungi

An unusual way to spend a birthday perhaps but a good excuse to be out there in the wild. Our Yeti has five years and 52000 miles under her wheels and all she has needed apart from regular oil/filter changes and tyres has been a coil pack replaced around the 50000 mile mark.

Here by loch and glen is the Birthday Girl herself and already she has found enough colourfull fungi by the roadside to fill her lenses.

For me it’s any excuse to get off the tarmac and head into the forests to forage for more exotica.

A Yeti in a fir tree and a little bonus pops out to play.

Okay – okay – I know – ‘get your mind back on the job’ – there’s fungi by the bucket load up here.

And it can stay there too – the only fungi I feel is safe to eat these days is the stuff that comes in a pack from the supermarket and even with it I have my doubts about the compost it’s grown in.

But I do like my Skoda Yeti – they don’t make them any more so it won’t be easy to replace her when she wears out. Hopefully that day is still sumway off.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2019 in Isle of Luing, out and about, Wildlife

 

Don’t fence me in

With two days to go before Loki’s first birthday it’s only a matter of time before our big boy get’s a whiff of a bitch or even a visiting roe deer and takes off for places he is not supposed to go.

The flapping Tibetan flags do little to dissuade dogs or deer from roaming and with Loki growing by the day it’s time to increase the height of the boundary walls and fences around our patch as seen here from our perch on Rowan Hill —

His two room kennel with small open run is tucked away behind the shed on the far left where we can watch one another through the kitchen door. He has a reasonably sheltered spot for windswept Bardrishaig which is what I thought I had chosen for our ‘Instant Garage’ boat shed.

More fool me! We had little warning of the gales to come but I should have known as it is March after all and had spent a few hours yesterday putting extra pegs and anchors at strategic places around our tent.

They must have helped – but not enough. At midnight I wakened to the crack of flapping canvas outside the bedroom window and a quick look from above showed that the downwind end of the tent had blown out and was vigorously flapping and cracking in the 60+mph gale. There was nothing else for it but to pull on some rough weather gear – grab my big torch and get on out there.

It took me two and a half hours of scrabbling around in the semi-darkness with gusts that threatened to have me off my feet at times – but a quick shufty this morning showed I had been successful and had managed to anchor the tent to the boat in quite a few places in addition to the cross-braces ties I had secured across either end.

The 20×12 tent has obviously taken a hammering but she is still there. A ‘hammering’ is what I almost got from the wee wifie when I woke her with a cup of tea at 2.30 this morning and told her where I’d been for the previous two and a half hours.

‘Foolhardy’ is a polite way of interpreting her views on the subject but at least our visions of the boat sailing across the island suspended from a tent shaped kite came to nout and everything remains safely anchored in our backyard till the next Big Blow.