Saturday, 23 July 2016

The Price of Glass

The design of our house included lots of windows, in part because of the superb views but also in recognition of the importance to good health of natural light in an area which, particularly in winter, tends to lack sunlight.

However, as with so many good ideas, there's a price to pay, and that price is levied most heavily at this time of year, when the fledglings are honing their flying skills. We've had a number of small birds crash into the windows recently. Most, like this chaffinch, fly away after a few minutes dazed recovery, probably with little harm done beyond a headache. But yesterday one unfortunate was found by the younger of our ageing cats.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Butterflies and Moths

The day started under a light westerly which, in due course, brought plenty of warm, sunny intervals. These offered a good chance of seeing some of the butterflies and moths which have had a hard time in the recent weather, so the day's walk took me up past St Comghan's church and then away towards the Kilchoan waterworks.

Despite the rain, the whites seem to be doing well, with plenty of them on the wing recently, even in some of the very brief dry intervals. I came across this one early in the walk when, with the day not yet warm, it sat quietly on a bracken leaf long enough for the lens to be pushed within a couple of centimetres. It's easy to see why this 'cabbage white' is called a green-veined white.

The Raptor, as well as producing beautiful pictures of the local birds, also has a sharp eye for butterflies.  This looks like a male common blue, with a bright blue top-side and....

....beautifully patterned underside to his wings. Only a few of these are on the wing at the moment, and I still haven't seen a female.

Three of these moths were sunning themselves in the croft fields above Ormsaigbeg . They are one of the treble bars, perhaps the lesser treble bar, a moth I've not identified before. They're supposed to be night-fliers but these were thoroughly enjoying the sunshine.

Despite some time spent hunting for them, only one six-spot burnet could be found. The wind had enough of a chill on it for the burnets to be clinging to stalks rather than flying, which is a pity as they make an impressive buzzing sound when they're on the wing.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable walk - until I arrived home and took off my boots. Somehow, this moth had become jammed into my boot between the side of the my ankle and the leather. When it was extricated, it was alive enough to....

....clutch hold of my finger. It looks very like a burnet but has very transparent upper wings, reddish underwings, and hasn't the prominent spots of the more common burnet varieties. The picture shows an iridescent blue area at the base of its wing and a couple of red patches near it.

It was put in the shade on a slate to give it a chance to recover, but when I returned it was dead.

I have no idea what it is, and have a horrible feeling that I've killed a member of a very rare species - and I don't even know, having walked miles, where it came from.

North Coast Broadband

Tony Swift, who lives in Branault (above), one of the north coast's tiny communities which is far removed from any hope of reasonable broadband speeds from BT, writes of his recent installation of satellite broadband through a company called Europasat.

"Installation was carried out on 7th July.  It's taken me two weeks to find my way around. Results – yes, Yes, YES!

"Speed is so much better. Not able to quote a speed yet as I had some difficulty in logging on as the portal was down for a few days.

"We're now able to watch BBC videos. Facebook, although I am not a fan, does actually work, to keep in touch with grand children in Israel, South Korea and Australia. Only two Skype contacts so far, with family in Fife and Birmingham, but it is the same distance to the satellite whether it is Scotland or Canada.

"A Kilchoan Diary now downloads so much more quickly, brilliant!!

"The installation was carried out by the boss of a firm called Colin Chessor Ltd. - which is well worth a visit on Google - very efficiently and in only two hours. The house now resembles GCHQ in Cheltenham with the number of aerials.

"Verdict after only two weeks usage – Excellent, brilliant and well worth it."

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Tea Break with a View

The wheelie bin lorry that collects rubbish all along the peninsula but finishes its run at Ardslignish stops for a few minutes for a tea break in the car park above Camas nan Geall.

This must be the ultimate tea break with a view.

Moving the Doctor's Surgery

From Richard O'Connor:
As many of you will know, we are trying to raise funds to transfer the current doctors' surgery to the games room at the back of the community centre. This will provide much needed privacy for patients as well as less congestion for both the doctors and nurses.

The NHS has been asked to contribute to this but is, as we know, 'stretched'.  It would therefore help our case if anyone with bad experiences regarding privacy or access could put them on paper and send them to me at the Community Centre. A paragraph is sufficient and will help a great deal.

Many thanks.
Richard O'Connor, Kilchoan Community Centre Commitee.