Lorraine said I should have a day off. So taking heed I did just that anyway I was pretty stuffed after Saturday’s changeover so I did not need much encouragement. My day off (first thing) was spent looking for the missing ewe and twins. But after the third walk round the outrun I still cannot find her. Yesterday one of her twins was bawling for her and by mid afternoon I could not see her but by dark there was no bleating and no sign. So first thing I headed over to the West side for a search but despite trawling the nooks and crannies of the outrun I could not find them. They will be somewhere though (I hope).
After that it was South to find some antlers and to do a stag count. The count was successful but the antlers were elusive. The stags cast them every year and we have collected the master stags for a few years and they make very interesting comparisons. But I did find three of last years buried in the grass.
They had been cast late and not chewed as they do. In an effort to get some calcium back into their bodies, the stags/hinds chew the antlers and we do often find just the base. I have in fact seen a hind chewing a stags antler as the stag lay down chewing the cud, no camera of course. It had been a wet night first rain for three weeks, welcome of course but it could have been a bit warmer. The view was pretty cold but still impressive with the clear skies South of the Cuillins.
as I walked along the ridge of Garbh Eilean, the big Island just of off Rona I could see a few stags feeding down by the shore but they saw me and high tailed it off the Island, I thought they might swim but they took the dry route.
I looked for a little bit longer but nothing doing, just seagulls bombing me as they are starting their nests. On the way down I spotted the first ‘Bonxies’ Skuas. They are nesting in the South too, more predators!! They never used to nest here but in the last three maybe four years they have colonised the South of Rona, they can be pretty aggressive when they have their young and our visitors get bombed on their walks South. So as the tide started to fill the gap I made my excuses and left, the erosion on the Islands North face is pretty impressive, just as well it is not critical but the traffic from the stags is causing major disruption of the soil base. Makes for an interesting access.
On the way North i got a surprise, I thought I saw a body on the far East side, a quick look with the binoculars and here was a Sea Eagle looking out to the fishing boats. I thought I would stalk him/her but it saw or smelt me and took off before I could get some decent pics’.
It headed West and was last seen flying over our lambs!!! They are so big, they look like someone standing out on the edge, I should know better I’ve seen them in that situation often enough. Back on the bike and heading home I came on the blind stag, he has problems with his sight, he kids us on he can see but we have had him at the windows of Rona Lodge and shone a very bright torch in his eyes and he just stares blankly ahead, very odd. But he may have suffered some damage as a calf. One of his antlers is much smaller than the other, that may be a hint. As it was he had cast his small antler and walked off with a last look back.
That took me back at lunch time so not much more for it but to feed the sheep. As I was getting organised in the house I heard a rumble, here was Spotty the old Ewe in the utility room eating the cats biscuits, Jeez!! Is nothing sacred!! Unfortunately she beat a hasty retreat with some encouragement from me, then I remembered the camera. I’m sure she will be back