Thursday, 21 August 2014

Black Adder Again

Just at the rear of our house, behind the vegetable garden, a path runs up to the back of the croft land and the meadow where I'm spending more and more of my time.  On my way back in this evening's warm sunshine, the black adder - see earlier post here - was lying, sunning himself, on the path where it crosses an old stone wall.

He disappeared too quickly for me to get a photograph, so I stood back, crouched and waited - and was rewarded when he stuck his head out of a moss-covered part of the wall.

I took a couple of pictures and then we sat and looked at each other.  He obviously wanted to come out and enjoy some more sunshine so, after a while....

....he slid out, coiled himself up so he could take full advantage of the sunlight and, at the same time, watch me.  Look again at the top picture and, if you haven't already spotted him, he's in the centre.

He obviously wasn't going anywhere, and seemed quite happy with my presence - until I moved, very slowly, to pass him and make my way home, at which point he, equally unhurriedly, slid back into his wall.

Piglet Invasions

Betsy's eight piglets, which are supposed to be held by an electric fence in an enclosure in the field opposite our house, are now almost permanently on the loose.  The other day they were in Trevor Potts' Ardnamurchan Campsite, frightening the visitors' children and dogs.

Recently, they've taken to creeping up through the long grass....

....making a dash across the road, and then trying to get under the front gate into our precious garden.  This morning, one of them had half-pushed himself through when....

....Hughie came past in his pickup and, knowing this was breakfast arriving, the piglets made off, followed by the Diary's shouts of, "I'll sue....  I'll sue...." which, as usual, Hughie ignored.

Marine Goldfish

Many thanks to Kilchoan fisherman Justin Cameron for allowing his picture of a marine goldfish to be used by the Diary. He found it in one of his prawn creels just to the west of the pier, at a depth of about 25 fathoms.

The Diary is no expert on marine fish but Google suggests it's a boar fish, Capros aper, also known as the Zulu fish.  It's uncommon in shallow water, preferring depths of around 100m, so it's out of its habitat sitting in a creel.  There's an interesting page about it here.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Ships in the Sound

Ships are at their best when one is close up to or aboard them, when one can hear and feel and smell as well as see them, but there are circumstances in which such proximity is less fun - like when one is in a yacht becalmed in the middle of the Sound of Mull, as we were on Regatta day.

This is the small cruise ship Lord of the Glens, small so it can pass through the Caledonian Canal as well as venture out to sea, but it looks very big from a small yacht.

On the same day, travelling in the opposite direction during a shower of rain which arrived to add further pleasure to our becalmed state, we had a close-up view of the Leslie Anne, a fish farm support vessel which ferries fish food out to the salmon farms.

The Ronja Skye, seen here in close-up from the relative safety of the Tobermory-Kilchoan ferry, is a well boat which carries live salmon to and from the salmon cages.  She's fully loaded, presumably carrying mature salmon to the processing plant at Mallaig.

It's not that reasonable pictures can't be taken from the shore, particularly if the ships come in close.  In the last month we've had two scallop dredgers pass along the Ormsaigbeg shore.  This one is BA842, Vervine, a frequent sight as she works out of Tobermory harbour, while....

....this one's new to us.  The Scarlet Arrow, OB128, is a scallop dredger based in Oban.  What I like about both these is that, although they're good, solid working boats, someone takes a pride in them which shows in their paintwork.

This is the PS Sea, a general cargo boat registered in the Bahamas.   Like so many ships these days, she has had frequent changes of owner.  She was the Arklow Sea until 2012, and as recently as this year was the Bbs Sea.  To add to the complexity, while she's operated by Luxembourg company Pillar Shipping - from which, presumably, she gate the PS - she's operated by a Norwegian one.  There's a great photo of her coping with some heavy weather on the Marine Traffic site, here.

This is the Flinter Atlantic, another general cargo ship.  By comparison with the PS Sea, she has a very straightforward background, being owned and managed by the Dutch company Flinter, and she sails under a Dutch flag.  The company makes very sure that information about its ships are readily available - look at the Flinter Atlantic's page on their website, here.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Adder Bites Girl

This is the Scottish Ambulance Service's medivac helicopter shortly after it took off from the Community Centre playing field at 5.30pm on Saturday.  It had been called out to take a ten-year old girl to hospital after she'd been bitten by an adder.  Apparently, she had picked it up.

An adder bite on a  child is much more dangerous than on an adult as the same amount of venom is diffused through a much smaller body.  On the other hand, children usually recover quicker than adults.

An information sheet about how to deal with adder bites is available on Dropbox.  It can be downloaded here.