Saturday, 31 July 2010

The Dangerous and the Beautiful

As if trying to earn a living from working a croft isn't already hard enough, these nasty little beasts make it even harder.

Mink, the descendants of animals which either escaped or were release from mink farms back in the 1990s, are a plague here. Their numbers seem to fluctuate - there were many more a few years ago - but they seem to be making a comeback, with a vengeance.

This one was caught by Alasdair MacLachlan on his croft at Achnaha. Before being trapped, it had killed 11 chickens and 10 pheasant chicks. It had dragged the pheasants out through a small hole in the wire but the dead chickens were left scattered around the run. No sooner was it removed than another appeared, also a male, but it killed only one chicken before it was dealt with.

Along with the picture of the mink, Alasdair sent me this one, of an Achnaha adder. Like the mink, the adders seem to come and go, but this is a boom year for them. It's not a very clear picture - but then, I don't suppose Alasdair was too keen to get close.

An adders bite may seem little more than a sting for most people, but their venom can be much more dangerous for children and people with heart conditions. Although there is an effective anti-venom, the results of an adder bite can be nasty, so medical help should always be sought. Link here.

And I'm grateful to Ricky Clark for a photograph which should cheer us up - of the clouds clearing to give a beautiful Kilchoan sunset.

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