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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Signs of spring

In the depths of winter it’s sometimes hard to remember what summer actually looks and feels like on Rum (like elsewhere I suppose), and after a long wait it finally feels as if the island is turning a corner. The gorse is in full flower and many alder have an unmistakable kiss of life as they’re covered in male catkins.
The longer days are playing with the hormones of our resident birds also and they definitely sense the beginning of an all too short northern summer and just want to start the important business of breeding. This morning (13th March) it was fantastic to observe one of our most enigmatic moorland birds, the curlew, in full display flight around the hillsides of the northern shore of Loch Scresort.  

Displaying male curlew

A male was (is) establishing a territory by circling a wide area there, rising and falling along the way. At the same time, the bird announces his presence with a loud bubbling call. This is the best time of year to listen to the hauntingly rich song of the curlew, so check it out before April! To listen to it now in the comfort of your own home (I'm so considerate I know), please follow this link  http://sounds.bl.uk/Environment/British-wildlife-recordings/022M-W1CDR0001375-0600V0#_
Curlew..gliding down on quivering wings

Claire’s (and Steve for that matter) going to have one hell of an early morning wake up call for the next few weeks,but it's ultimately nicer than a rooster. Always awesome to watch and hear a displaying curlew and well worth half an hour out of the day. Stand on the road close to the second yurt for best views.

Curlew..rising steeply on rapid wing-beats

Other bird activity of note in the village environs today included singles of pied wagtail, skylark (Glen Park) and redshank which incidentally has been lurking around most of the winter. Unusual for yesterday (12th March) was Sandy’s common seals which hauled themselves out in front of Ivy Cottage at the mouth of Kinloch Burn. I’ve never seem them hauled out quite so close to the village, so great record.Fliss and Sandy's forthcoming observatory is going to make a great conservatory!

Check out the spring-like weather this morning! Awesome cloud formations over the east coast

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