Spring arrivals

4th July 2016
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Our croft bird list currently stands at 63, with the third week of April adding 10 new species. We are hoping for breeding swallows, willow warblers and perhaps even grasshopper warbler (one was heard reeling behind the shed). It is likely that the snowy week here at the end of April will have impacted pairs setting up, particularly swallows and martins who can only feed on flying insects. We have enjoyed watching a pair of displaying wagtails just a foot from our window and are currently looking out for the arrival of blackcaps and whitethroats. A very late arrival to the croft this spring was our daughter, Effie... 16 days overdue!
We have been enjoying time with Effie and so work on the croft has taken a back seat at the moment. Effie enjoyed her first wee hike at Leiter Fura, a Forestry Commission site by Drumfearn, which has excellent views over the sound of Sleat and a track to an abandoned township. We searched for adders as this is an excellent site and the conditions were ideal. We were lucky to find two very young individuals (pictured below) and one impressive male, probably searching for a mate. Adders eat around 6 small mammals per year and it is unlikely this male had eaten anything yet this year.
Our main goal for the spring has been to improve the parking and drainage around the croft. Phil planted alder seeds on the spoil heaps and it will be interesting to see if they grow! We have observed lizards whilst out digging, and are hoping to see a slow worm next!We’ve also been mulching around the fruit trees with woodchip. Unfortunately these trees haven’t been planted in a great location, we may decide to move them in future, but for now we will give them lots of attention and hope they provide a decent crop this year. Watch this space...

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