Posts tagged with illustration
Gannets dive for fish on the coast, close enough to watch with binoculars. Here is an illustration showing 3 stages of the dive where they first scan the water looking for fish before entering the surface like torpedos. It may take many attempts before they make a catch. Despite their unattractive name these sea birds are quite stunning with their apricot coloured heads and sky blue ringed eyes.
This morning I have risen early from my campsite on the machair and a mornings stroll leads me to discover a family of otters frolicking in a Loch. The group of coastal dwelling otters are possibly bathing in the freshwater to wash the sea salt from their coats, this helps to maintain the insulative properties of their fur. The three slowly sense my presence and one of the group swim towards me, climbs onto a rock and sniffs the air to establish whether I am friend or foe.
On the West coast of South Uist a long strip of white sandy beach adjoins a strip of Machair. Machair are the meadows of wild grasses and flowers growing in very sandy soil. Here plants such as field pansy’s, wild orchids, buttercups, daisys, and poppies grow in abundance creating a rich habitat for bees and insects.
The Gaelic for many of these flowers translates to English fantastically. For example, Daisy (neòinean) – ‘Little thing of noon,’ Sea Campion (coirean mara) –‘Mermaid of the shore,’ and Buttercup (buidheag an t-samhraidh) – ‘The small yellow one of the summer.’
July (An t-Iuchar) translates as ‘The yellow month,’ as the green land is over taken by yellow petals.
Stop by the very beautiful and rugged Uig bay this morning on the East coast of Lewis and recall this photograph at Aunt Castafiore’s house. The beautiful Lewis Chessmen are said to have been found here in 1831 and date from the 12th Century. They are believed to be of Norse origin but it remains a mystery as to why they were left or hidden in the sands here.
Each of the pieces have their own unique character. Here the Queens face seems racked with worry…
For the next few weeks Charlie and I are taking a trip to the Islands to see the rich wildlife that lives and visits the Outer Hebrides during the summer months. We shall encounter the plentiful bird life - Sea Eagles, Puffins and Gannets and water mammals - Whales, Basking Sharks and Dolphins which all feed in these waters at this time of year.
On the ferry crossing we spot a traditional Sgoth Niseach; a clinker build skiff which was the type used for line fishing before fish stocks became depleted and fisherman had to find new ways of making an income.
3 nights later and we finally spot our Highland Tiger!
Tonight I will trek out to see if I can find any Scottish Wildcats in the forest. Sightings are rare these days as the Cat is critically endangered. It is the last large mammal predator in the wild in the UK and its conservation and study is critical to its survival.
This chart maps the pelt marking helping one to identify whether a creature is a true Wildcat, hybrid or domestic cat. It also shows how the cat has changed through domestication.
New growth on a Pinus Sylvestris or Scots Pine.
This tree is the most widely distributed conifer in the world reaching from far Northern Europe to Asia. Its heavily textured bark is the perfect habitat for richly coloured mosses, Lichens and Insects which in turn attract birds such as Crossbills and Treecreepers.
Aunt Castafiore’s grand house on the Rosneath peninsula will be our base for the summer. We will take a tour up the West coast of Scotland, up to the highlands and on to the Outer Hebrides.
And so we leave the fair and beautiful Island of Greenland with the first sighting of the Greenland Ringed Plover - very early, as these birds return to the North to reach their breading grounds in the Summer. A rapid warbling call is emitted whilst in flight and a characteristic, soft “dee-ip” can be heard whilst on land.
On my return to England, Charlie and I will be heading to the highlands of Scotland to visit Great Aunt Castafiore; an eminent archeologist and a wonderful local eccentric.