Monday, 6 July 2015

The Outer Hebrides

I have been spending a few days on the Outer Hebrides travelling from the top island of Lewis down through Harris, Uist, Eriskay and Barra.

While many of you were basking in 30 degree plus temperatures, for much of the time these islands could only muster up half that, but goodness me, what they lacked in the weather stakes, they sure make up in beauty!

The winter has been a long one and spring has not really arrived, and the islanders are hacked off, even by their standards it has been a wet, cold and extremely windy time. As a result, the array of flowers making up the Machair are at least a month behind and I had the rather bizarre experience of seeing primroses and Lady's smock in flower in July!

I watched an otter one evening hunting for crabs amongst the seaweed, going about its business within 15 metres or so of where I was standing. I saw a wonderful array of birds including Golden Eagle, Black guillemot, Corn Bunting, Snipe, Redshank, Lapwing, Dunlin and of course the constant "crek, crek" of Corncrake on South Uist. I also caught up with a great yellow bumblebee - a speciality of these isles.

I have put up a few photos for you - hopefully they might brighten up your day!

Stornaway harbour in late evening

Seals join gulls in the harbour to feed on the fishermen's discarded waste 

Other rather more unexpected guests turn up too!

Sea bird colonies cling to the cliffs - here mainly Razorbill and Kittiwakes

Classic Corncrake country

Need I add anything?

A Fulmar nesting amongst sea pinks

The beaches were totally deserted almost without exception

These are my footprints - the only ones on the beach!

Wet marshland flowers - overhead were the constant cries of Redshank, Lapwing and Dunlin, while a number of snipe sat on fence posts and observed me in silence

A view across Eriskay

Barra - in the foreground mustard has been planted as a fodder crop 

July primroses!

South Uist - a profusion of flowers including here a pink haze of Ragged Robin

A Shag broods her young on the nest

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