It’s definitely in the air on Barra. A sunny but very windy day meant that we spent much of it observing the passage of life from the warmth and comfort of Bessie.
We drove down the east coast, passing a bank full of what look like white bluebells as far as each small flower is concerned but not the overall shape of the plant. Does anybody have a clue? It’s not in either of our two flower books and, as you know, the internet is not an available option except in the airport café.
The next picture is for daughters Alexandra and Sally. It was commented that one of the houses reminded her of a Minibrix house (a very old toy similar to Lego but made of rubber that I played with as a child). Well, how about this one then?
Even the steps are made from them!
The house was seen on the way down to Barratlantic, who I should think are the main employer on the island. They process the fish that are caught by local fishermen and have a retail outlet in the building (this is a fancy expression for what is simply a lady behind a counter). Peter braved the wind and eventually found the lady (no signs or anything) who sold him some uncooked prawns (shell-less though) and some sole and also explained helpfully how the prawns should be cooked.
We are yet to eat them but will report!
We carried on to Earsary which is rapidly becoming one of our favourite spots to rival the old jetty.
We parked on the grass and waited. There was a handsome male Eider on the shore who was busy preening himself and behind on some rocks was a female in her drab brown feathers.
Then a protracted courtship dance began – the male sidling up to the female, who at first looked disinterested. Then the male started bobbing and diving to get her attention. The female sank lower into the water, making her back look almost hollow.
Then the male stood up, presumably to show how wonderful he was…
Then they came together for some close contact…
And then – well, I’ll leave that one to your imagination but it was a bit clumsy and very quick!.
A dainty Sandpiper appeared and posed briefly on a nearby rock…
Peter suggested why don’t I do a painting? So we turned the driver’s seat round and I sat there happily with the acrylics while he was still able to use the camera from the passenger seat. Bliss. Here are some of the photos he took:
A couple of Common Terns were doing the love thing of the male bringing food to the female (although we never actually saw any food) when a Gull rudely invaded their space – see the reaction of the male!
A Redshank flew down to make a minute search of the seaweed, while the Sandpiper was joined later by a friendly Oystercatcher (you can’t keep them out of this blog!).
A pair of beautiful Shelducks floated by gracefully – the male is the one with the knobbly bill!
An elegant lone Whimbrel turned up – why are they often alone?
Then a diver that Peter identified as a juvenile Great Northern Diver appeared holding a strange creature in its bill. Is it a crab? You can see legs but it’s an odd shape!
Whatever it was it was eventually swallowed whole – they must have good digestion – and the diver looked pretty happy.
I am not putting the painting on today as I wasn’t entirely satisfied with it but I may have another go tomorrow, hopefully with better results.
We went back to the campsite via the airport where we published a blog while eating hake goujons and chips (Friday again!). Not as nice as last week’s but it wasn’t the owner cooking this week.
We thought there might be another sunset but nothing special. Looking forward to barbecuing the prawns tomorrow night!
Sandpiper is my favourite today. White bluebells possibilities – white bluebells, wild garlic or wild leek (also a type of wild garlic) are the three options I’ve come up with. Try sending the photo to ispot. Can’t tell from the photo in the blog but could the Diver’s snack be some kind of cephalopod? It certainly looks like spring has sprung up there.
Some research needed – thanks Sean. x
Dorothy Gray said:
I think the plant may be the white variety of the Spanish Bluebell. They are more upright and have broader leaves than the English Bluebell and come in blue, white and pink. Unfortunately they are rather invasive of our bluebells but were introduced to our shores 300 years ago!
Thanks Dorothy – that was the only thing I could come up with. The native bluebell doesn’t seem to grow on this island but it looks very bullish! x
That male Tern looks distinctly cheesed off with the gull! I also love the previous picture of the Tern swooping in.
They’re such elegant birds Harry. Glad you liked the shots. x
Thanks mum – that’s definitely a Minibrix house. 🙂