Short-eared owls and Adder

Posted on - In Wild with Pants
Great to see shorties on Uist and on Mull!Also this year on a regular walk from Fidden Farm near Fionnphort on Mull - the dog was merrily bouncing in a ditch at the side of the road when we heard a plopping sound and Simon noticed an adder drop into the water seeking the dumb, oblivious dog.  We managed to get dog our of the water and grab a few shots of a beautiful adder....

Summer migration 2016: Cornwall to Outer Hebrides

Posted on - In Wild with Pants
We have just returned to reality and the promise of a long long academic term ahead after our annual summer migration.  This year saw us spending three weeks down in Cornwall via Exmoor each way and then north to Outer Hebrides - Berneray, Uists via Kielder Forest, Cairngorms, Applecross and Skye and then back via Raasay and Arisaig before a final lovely week on Mull.We have had all kinds of weather including dreadful rain and storms with gusting winds of up to 60 mph. Mainly what stands out for us this summer is the many wonderful people we have met along the way.  Most notably the craic at the Bernaray Hostel (as usual!)  This time we were joined by Davey and his young son Stevie from Dunfermline, a reet pair of characters! Also Becky and Brett a couple of young pals from Oxfordshire with a great sense of humour, Welsh sist...

Pine Marten mania in Applecross

Posted on - In Wild with Pants
Well mania for us because we are so happy to see them though I guess, not so much for the crofters trying to keep their ducks, chickens safe from these cute looking yet wily predators.The new camera trap came into its own, capturing pine martens all through the night and one morning (having joked about wanting to get two on film........mating!) Lo and behold a saucy pair playfully chasing each other and leaping on one another.  So cool - though I doubt mating for real at this time of year?  Need to check a bit about them but from what I've read they appear to breed at the same time of year and the male doesn't stay around.  Also the young don't seem to stay with mother as long as the otter young do.  Not really sure why these particularly two were together- they came along around 4ish each morning.  We also watched ...

Stonyhurst Kestrels

Posted on - In Wild with Pants
So we are nearing the end of another long year and a large number are fledging.... that is a large number of children leaving for university and life beyond this fine old place.   An annual event that's happened for 100s of years. Another wonderful annual event that has also been going on for centuries is the fledging of all those little creatures which live amongst the towers, gargoyles, grounds here. Especially our favourite, the kestrel..   Gerald Manley Hopkins was here as a teacher for a time and wrote a magical poem called "Windhover" about a kestrel.  Perhaps the ancestors of our inspired him.  We are delighted that for past 5 years (to our knowledge- but probably for as long as the building has been here) a pair have nested behind one of four griffins,  each holding a shield and each...
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Applecross at Easter (again!)

Posted on - In Wild with Pants
Just back from our annual Easter pilgrimage to Applecross and up't'north generally.   This year we again met with adverse weather conditions which screwed our plans.   Arrived at Fionnphort on Mull in horrendous gale force winds and deciding to NOT chance the bigger tent (designed as our base camp for up to two weeks before tripping up to Applecross) we began to pitch smaller two man.  Immediately, the wind caught it and a pole snapped.  Undaunted, as we've been here before and learned the lesson,  we fetched spare poles and gingerly made another attempt.   It was only by parking Berlingo immediately infront of tent that we were able to provide the slightest reprieve from the major gusts and by guzzling some pretty hefty G&Ts that we were able to provide the greatest nonchalance about th...

Spring in the air at last?

Posted on - In Wild with Pants
We had a great week in Devon over half term.  Lots of lovely otter spraint (ah so fragrant- palm violets I always think- come on L'Oreal make it into a perfume! L'eau de Tarka)   No otters of course but being with spaniel and niece it was never going to happen.  We did get a good fox sighting and a zillion buzzards -which is always great.So back home and on the final march to Easter hols and beloved Scotland.  We have not been out much but have had some nice sightings in past week or so - a stoat in complete ermine, plenty of roe deer, a super close, though badly photographed, hen harrier and lots of hares.  "Here hare here" (old one but as a "Withnail and I" fan, a bit of a fave quote there)  and also a kingfisher bringing some colour and joy to a damp grey day.ROLL ON 28th MARCH AND SCOTLAND!!!...