Thursday, 18 July 2013

A Trip "Sooth"

Having lived in Orkney for so long, a trip "sooth" still means anywhere south of where I live. So my trip to Arran last week was a trip sooth. I stopped off at a couple of other places to break the journey, and - as usual - got busy with the camera.


Juvenile redpoll
 Redpoll - the first one I've ever seen.
  Pond skater
 Water lillies
I also came across a very pretty roundabout...

All good.

Monday, 15 July 2013

More Arran Wildlife

Some hielan coos, and a tystie.

A field of Hielan Coos at Brodick Castle.

At Brodick Pier - a tystie (black guillemot) with its dinner.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Some Arran Wildlife

On a beautiful evening I went for a paddle in Lamlash Bay to cool down.

There were lots of small fish but I'm not sure what kind.

There were small flatfish too but I didn't manage to get a photo of them as you could really only see them when they were moving. There were shrimps...
... and there were lots of hermit crabs. The water was warm and beautifully clear.

In fact the water was so warm that it didn't do much to revive me, which was the original idea behind going for a paddle in the sea! However something else did much to revive me...

The sea creatures didn't seem too bothered by the presence of my feet. First this crab ran right over me, then I spotted a very busy hermit crab...

It was testing out a new shell for size. I knew that hermit crabs were soft bodied and that when they needed a bigger shell they had to find an empty one and then move quickly before any predators caught them, but I've never seen it actually happening before. This hermit crab spent ages getting the shell into the perfect position, then he quickly nipped into the bigger shell. He then maybe thought it was a little too big as he then scuttled back into his old shell again, before finally moving back into the new shell and heading off.

What a sight.  It certainly made my day!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Crowning the Queen

I went along to watch the start of Lamlash Gala Week. It always starts with the crowning of the "Heather Queen" with some entertainment, but from that it has grown over the last few years (it's been years since I've been in Arran at the right time for it) and it's now a big event, with stalls, bouncy castle, races, food and lots more.

It was a beautiful day, which probably helped draw the crowds...

There were lots of stalls and competitions, including the slingshot. We didn't see anyone actually managing to hit one of the buoys.

I was most amused to see the Heather Queen, after sitting demurely on stage throughout the proceedings, let her hair down and enjoy playing in the sun!

There used to be a whole week of events following the crowning of the Heather Queen, but I didn't see anything else or any advertising for anything else while I was there.

Dolphins in the Mist

On Monday we were supposed to be going on an RSPB boat trip to Fowlsheugh. It was a beautiful day - roasting hot - so I headed into Aberdeen early to spend some time watching the dolphins before meeting Simon after work and heading to Stonehaven for the boat trip. It must have been the hottest day of the year so far, but I was well equipped with sun cream, sun hat, water, etc.

I reached the harbour, and the dolphins were pretty active...

The harbour was, as usual, busy with ships going in and out the the pilot boat being kept busy.

After only around 5 minutes though, a bank of mist started to roll in. The dolphins were still playful, viewed through the mist as it rolled in and out...

Then I received a phone call to say that the mist bank stretched for over 5 miles down the coast and - on top of that - there were 2 metre waves off Stonehaven and conditions at Fowlsheugh were worsening so the boat trip was cancelled. We were really disappointed, especially as conditions everywhere else were perfect, and I'm sure the trip would still have been really enjoyable. I suppose as it was an RSPB trip though, the idea was to get close to the birds, and that would be more challenging in the conditions and there would be no decent view of the cliff scenery with the mist.

So I stayed around the harbour in the mist for 1½ hours waiting for Simon to finish work. It did get significantly colder in the mist and a stiff breeze sprung up, so I was very glad to have the extra layer of clothes I'd packed in anticipation of the boat trip.

 Luckily the mist kept clearing a little so I could still see the dolphins, who seemed to be fairly active for 5-10 minutes and then not in sight for 10-15 minutes. Some even came right inside the harbour at one point.

I did get a wee treat to make up for the disappointment of the boat trip being cancelled, as the dolphins put on their most impressive move for me - a perfectly timed pair jumping in opposite directions forming a perfect circle. Wow!

Friday, 12 July 2013


Recently we visited the RSPB reserve at Fowlsheugh.

There was a good variety of seabirds to be seen.

 razorbill and guillemot

The cliffs were full of nesting birds.

We saw a solitary puffin.

The sea pinks were just getting past their best.

We saw an advert for an RSPB boat trip while we were there and booked it, thinking that getting a view of the reserve from the sea would be a great experience. More of that later...