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Monday, 10 October 2011

Now for the Fauna

(I had hoped to get the Doune blogs finished by now, but have been holding off to see if I got permission to use a certain photo in this posting.   However I’ve heard nothing back so I won’t be able to use the photo, more’s the pity.  Never mind!  I’ve also been pretty busy with loads of other stuff, so I’m sorry I’ve not been here for a while.  By the way my Peebles blog is back!  I haven’t been doing the photos but I have a guest photographer in the form of Iain Mackay.)

Well, fauna  covers animals and insects, bugs and birds, so I guess I can include the Doune pets!  ron and morag You’ve seen Ron, the little black female dog belonging to Ewan, Liz’s son, so here’s Steve the boatman’s dog too –eilean aboard a rusty coloured Patterdale terrier with a Gaelic name.  She’s called Eilean (AYlun) which means island.  She’s a cute wee thing!  Seems to like being on the boat – just as well, as she spends a lot of time on it – and would give you a heart attack to see her standing on the edge like this.  Apparently she has been known to fall into the sea at times, but thankfully she didn’t while we were there.  She and Ron are great friends!

to doune and back 488 Not quite pets, but not far off it, are the exceedingly free –range hens that wander at will, on the grass, through the heather and down on the shore amongst the seaweed, always grubbing up something tasty to eat.chooks2


This one is finding something good in the seaweed.  Is this what makes the egg yolks so yellow they’re almost orange?  Good source of iron too!

Outside the dining room windows are bird feeders which were very rarely without a chaffinch or two at them, attempting to polish off the peanuts.  There was a bit of a queuing system – a pecking order? – so while waiting their turns we had the pleasure of having them sitting on the rail of the decking outside, watching us watching them.chaffinch2


I think these two photos have to be the best of the several I took, though I do rather like this one of the fluffy youngster.chaffinch youngster Strangely, there only seemed to be chaffinches around this year. 

Down on the shore there were occasional gulls,but nothing else really.gull on rocks  We have seen other LBJs

           (Little Brown Jobs – small brown birds) on other occasions, just not this year! 

Something else I didn’t see this year was the deer that came down to the front of the lodge during the night.  Someone was up and about, looked out and spied the beast, and alerted one or two others, but they know not to bother waking me, as once I’m in my bed I don’t like getting out of it – even to see a deer!  We never get good photos of the deer at night in the dark anyway.

a hairy oobit On days when we went walking over to Dun Head and beyond, we quite often encountered these huge caterpillars among the grasses and wild flowers - some kind of moth, I believe.  We call them hairy oobits! I did look them up once and keep meaning to do it again, but right now I’m not on-line, so it won’t be today!  Sorry!

The highlight of the week though occurred one morning – not the best of days – but Steve had just headed out in the dingy to fetch Gripper from her mooring in to the pier, had rounded the point and was in the bay.  Someone in the dining room, our work room,  must have been looking out of the window and suddenly the shout went up “Dolphins!”  Lacemaking was forgotten as we all leapt out of our seats to make for a window.  There must have been five of them, and for the next twenty minutes we were treated to a tremendous display of leaps, twists and splashes, as Steve took the dingy in a roundabout journey around the bay encouraging them to follow, splashing his hand on the water to hopefully get them to jump into the air.  It was fabulous, but sadly my photos were too blurred – with excitement? -  to do anything with dolphins_  too lateor by the time the shutter clicked it was too late and they had leapt and disappeared back into the water.   This photo indicates the residual splash!   Actually I did get one photo that was not bad!dolphin

Later, Marge and Lisbet did  some little paintings of what we saw, marges dolphins though there to doune and back 466weren’t quite as many dolphins as in Lisbet’s scene,(below) and they didn’t all jump at the same time!  This is really a combination of the whole show. It was certainly quite a thrill to have been entertained by the dolphins , especially as it was only the third time all summer they had come into the bay!

So, I was going to continue to the end of my visit to Doune, but I think I have enough here for you to read and look at.  I’ll post the  last episode next time.

Talk again soon.

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