Summer now here...

The tail end of winter announces spring is just around the corner and for us who work in the nature it is a time of great and exciting change. The flora begins to shoot, you can see Primroses in woodlands, Mosses looking brighter and you can almost feel the trees beginning to stretch towards longer and brighter days.

Barnacle and White fronted Geese; Islay’s noisy neighbours all winter, having taken on as much energy to last for summer breeding back in Greenland, are now gone. Their sound being replaced by Skylarks, Curlew and Lapwing, it is different, by just as welcome.

And now, on the 21 June, summer is here. The nights are long, very long and Corncrake calls flood over the midge filled warm air. A Barn Owl will float by if you are patient and attentive and if you are lucky, the weird dripping tap sound of a Spotted Crake can be heard. Red Deer move silently as do the Roe too.

During the day Golden Eagles and Hen Harriers busy themselves with finding food for young and Raven hang around in the hope for some carrion or two! Arctic Terns and Little Terns also are busy feeding young and male Eider Ducks look forlorn as they sit and moult on the spit at the head of Loch Indaal. On still days – and yes there are a few, you can watch the wee Brown Trout rise on the hill lochens and maybe an a passing Osprey may compete with the fly fisherman for a meal!

Watching this wildlife is such a pleasure at this time of year. Watch, quietly and stealthily and with joy, and with realisation at being so privileged in this wild place – you will be rewarded.


A Sunday walk at Loch Gruinart

Jeremy Hastings

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