Tuesday, 24 May 2011


If you're a regular visitor you may have noticed that, of late, I..er..haven't been.

My excuse is that my laptop caught a particularly nasty bug and had to go to the docs. I hope the people who write these viruses end up in the docks too.

So what have I been up to while all this has been going on? Well My colleagues and I have walked more ground for foxes, we've also been out in the early mornings spying for them. But we haven't fallen in with any. In fact, we haven't seen any. Actually, we've hardly seen any recent sign of a fox at all.

So without the distraction of foxes, we've concentrated our efforts more on stoat and crow traps. The 'problem' is there seem to be very few of them as well.

We're delighted of course, albeit in a slightly mistrusting, perplexed sort of way. (Can there really be so few? Or are they just giving us the slip?)

Our delight is slightly dulled with the fact that this allows us to catch up with all sorts of sorting. We've been freed up enough to catch up with cleaning and oiling every bit of tack in the tackroom. We've swept out the hayloft and stable block. We cleared out an old shed of a formidable pile of ancient crap. We sorted up the lochside road. We've cut some of the firewood needed for the bothies in the shooting season.

If you live in Britain you maybe heard about the storms that hit yesterday. Winds of 100mph were recorded less than 10 miles from this spot. One of the families in the glen had their estate car transformed into a right state courtesy of an extremely large beech tree. There was driving rain too.

And us? Well we thought we'd do a bit of fencing. I was chapping the new posts in with a mell. It wasn't easy being accurate with the thing when I was being buffeted all over the place. The man on the post-holder- Gus- has been mentioned in despatches.

I include a pic taken of the loch that day. We were fencing just out of frame on the right.

As I've mentioned before, I get a real kick from seeing everything thrive at this time of year. I could bang on endlessly about nests I've found or chicks I've come across.

I went as far as asking our regular bird researcher about ringing the birds I happen upon. I was incenced to hear you need to be licenced. And to get your licence you need to pass through 2 stages of 'apprenticeship'. *Deep sigh*

On a non-worky note, I got together with some of my oldest friends to spend a day flighting pigeon on a low-ground estate a few miles away. As one would expect for this time of year, the sport was hardly fast and furious. And a strong wind made these very underestimated birds even more taxing. But we had a blast (or two).

If you're reading this guys, lets do it again soon.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Out of the Picture

It was inevitable, I suppose. That's why the camera I used was an ebay special. God knows where it is now. It might be somewhere oot the hill right now, in this deluge. Perhaps it's down the back of a piece of furniture somewhere in the house. Perhaps my young son has purloined it. Whatever.....

I'm almost more annoyed at losing the handful of photos that I hadn't yet downloaded. I reckon there were some cracking shots of a crack of dawn. And I would have loved to have had it to show a classic fox kill I came across- an oystercatcher near the lochside with its head pulled off. And the wild mallard with her 10 newly-hatched chicks would have been a good 'un. And the goosanders nest I found in a hole in an old ash tree.

But I did say almost.

As it is, I hope not to deprive you of piccies for too long. I've just heard that my last bid was successful so a replacement should be with me shortly.

I hope it proves to be as robust as the last. I always expected water or an impact to be its demise. Maybe it will be yet, after all it's sure to appear now I've bought another.

It's been another busy week. Walking ground, doing early mornings, checking traps. A rough calculation tells me it's been a 60++ hour week. And there is loads still to do. Hey ho.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Maisie Misses Out

As stated in my last blog, I had to leave Maisie in the kennel the next day. The poor dear could hardly move when I looked in on her in the morning.

And wouldn't you know it, she missed the action.

The truth of the matter is I nearly did as well. As I negotiated a particularly steep and heathery slope a fox got up. In 3 bounds it had reached the top of the bump it had been lying on. If it had managed a 4th bound it would have been out of my sight.

As you can see from the pic, it didn't make it but I'd be the first to admit it was an unlucky fox.

On a completely different tack, I thought I'd treat you to some pics from the other side of this beautiful country. I was fortunate to be invited to a weekend of sailing over on the West coast.

The weather was fantastic and the scenery was outstanding (har). But a word of warning to my overseas readers- don't think it's like this all the time. Of course, the scenery is always there, it's just you don't always get to see it for the mist, rain or clouds of midges.

Colin, if you read this, thanks for a great weekend.