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June's Wildlife Cruises

What a month it has been! In the weeks before the summer solstice the weather has been exceptionally dry, warm and sunny. Years can pass without experiencing a spell like that, so it will surprise no-one to hear that we have been busy with our wildlife cruises, still using the Happy Splash while the Lady Anne sits patiently in the harbour waiting for her engine to return. Still, “ You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.” (Attributed to Cormac McCarthy, who died last week)

One of the interesting things we noticed during the hot calm weather was the disappearance of the black-throated divers – apparently they go out to sea in conditions like that – so hopefully we will see them return shortly as the weather resumes a more typical pattern looking forward. The red-throated divers have still been around every day and we have regularly seen the red deer running and swimming. Those are two of the three events in a triathlon, so I had thought that would constitute a biathlon, - but no, apparently a biathlon combines cross country skiing and rifle shooting, two activities avoided by deer!

The white tailed eagles have continued to provide magnificent sightings, these huge birds regularly flying and perching close to the boat. We have also seen golden eagles most days, usually in flight, and frequent sightings of arctic skuas and kestrels. A pair of peregrine falcons have nested on a rock face among many herons, and in fact appear to have requisitioned one of the heron nests and the two species can be seen sitting virtually side by side.

The heather is coming into bloom! Soon the hillsides will assume their purple colour and soon enough the young birds will fly and some will start their long journeys back to their winter homes. Already the cuckoo has changed its song, and maybe some have left? Oh yes and our friend the otter has been reappearing – not sure they liked that hot bright weather – we saw two on our last trip!

With thanks to Brian for the fantastic photographs



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