Jeremy Hastings: Wild winds, bright skies, cold air. And now mist. It is that strange time of year when Winter has forgotten to leave and Spring tries to make it's mark. Primroses are in evidence and trees are in bud. one can understand how the ancients felt that the lighter evening and warmer days felt so good about a new beginning of the seasons hopefulness. Of course, splashed all over the local newspaper was Ian Brooke's super photograph of the pale Gyr Falcon that passed through Islay this week. Great image and lucky spot - a serious example of being in the right place at the right time.
Birds are moving through all over the place and resident ones are busy setting up home. The House Sparrows that we share this ancient bothy with have been so busy collecting yet more nesting materials and sitting at the entrance of each nest hole in the walls chatting away and dropping down to the feeders whenever they need a top up. Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Starlings all share/squable over the feeders. Occasionally the Sparrowhawk storms along the allotments and then glides over the wall bringing with it - mass panic. Occasionally it strikes lucky and a this week a Starling bit the dust. Nature in the raw, tooth and claw. There has been quite a bruhaha on BBC regarding David Attenbrough's nature programmes show death and destruction. Comeon folks - nature is not cuddly, it is raw and is bloody and that is fact.Perhaps we should examine our pwn situation as to how we have been feeding nature to the masses - all bright and cheerful and sunny. Sorry to disappoint but the reality is; nature is not like this - things are born and things die, creatures get killed and others kill them. Some of us actually eat them too! Continue reading......One of the highlights of my tours is when we find a raptor a meat eating and full blooded hunting bird. Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Hen Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Merlin all rely on death and destruction to live. That is why we love the danger, the excitement and the rareness of such an opportunity to bear witness to. Peter Cairns and Mark Hamblin have a book out called tooth and Claw which examines the relationship of ourselves and ritain's predators. They also have a website at www.toothandclaw.org.uk I urge you to look at it and so you can see that when an image of a Gyr falcon is captured it means that we ll share part of this amazing reality of hunter and hunted - An opportunity to be part of the wild - even if it is in our minds eye set about by a photograph in a local newspaper.
Tomorrow is another day and we are grateful that we have made it through another night and welcome the new dawn full of song!
Other relevant Islay Wildlife and Birding Information Resources:
- Jeremy's News Blog
- Previous Islay nature reports By Jeremy Hastings
- Islay Seasonwatch by Teresa Morris
- Islay Birds blog by Ian Brook
- Islay Birder blog by John Armitage