|The new pier waiting room/welcome building|
|The corner of discontent..the new Ranger Base in the Community Hall|
Vikki, Ali,Chain, Jinty's Dad Pete and Rachel have been working hard to make sure all went smoothly with the new camping cabin delivery and groundworks last weekend.They were made by a small firm in Applecross and were delivered and installed by two very nice guys called James and Duncan.
|Kool Kamping Kabins (please note the old wooden shelter as seen in Flora Celtica page 77)|
|James and Duncan two minutes before the ferry..a mad rush and gone!|
|Unlike her predecessor...Vikki is serious about development|
They were funded by HIE and
Leader and we all appreciate Vikki’s hard work seeing it through from the funding application to the finishing touches.Nice one bro!
The two cabins have names already and have been christened Minishal and Fioncra after two of our smaller western peaks.Nice sign writing Ali....
Also new this season is the purpose built walking route signage around the village and NNR. These will make sure that less people will be walking around the village scratching their heads...they’ll only be scratching because of the midges from now on. I bet we still get a few folk who walk the long way round the front road for a castle tour though, I suppose it’s just the way it is...it's the Rum Factor! There are three routes on offer, a red route (a sundew) will guide you into Coire Dubh, the blue route (an otter.. or a dinosaur if you look from a distance according to Fliss) takes you right around the loch from the Community Hall to the otter hide, and the yellow route (a golden eagle) will guide you up onto the North Side Trail.
|New village signage|
Can’t say that everyone in the community think them great, but they’re a vast improvement to what was there before and will definitely make life easier for everyone. I guess you cant please all of the people all of the time! Must say that I did like my old North Side Trail sign and am slightly sad it’s been retired to the garden at the Ranger Mansion.Oh well, onwards and upwards.
Now we're on the summer timetable, last Wednesday's (4th April) busy ferry was the first of many to come.It's strange at this time of year, as you've become so accustomed to very little in the way of social stimulation...then come April 1st there's lots of people and potentially they all want to talk to you!Can be a bit overwhelming at first, but you soon adapt.Last Wednesday also saw the first of the big cruise liners of the season, with passengers from the Hebridean Princess popping in for a castle tour.
|Off the starting blocks..the first busy ferry of the year|
|The Hebridean Princess with a new lick of paint|
Spring has apparently disappeared for the time being as conditions since the 29th have been much cooler with a more northerly to westerly airflow bringing some drizzle and snow to the higher ground.We've still had a bit of passage however.Two of the crossbills from last week stayed around until Saturday 31st, whilst the usual suspects, i.e. the ducks and divers were displaying in Loch Scresort still.
|Frankie Howerd's favourite ducks...bill-tossing and neck-jerking are features of the male eider's courtship display|
Some raptor interest on the 31st with 2 Buzzard displaying over the Dibidil Track and the pair of adult sea eagles were seen on occasion at Kilmory. 23 whooper swans were observed heading north from Kilmory on the 1st April as were quite a large flock of black headed gulls (18 individuals).
|Whooper Swans moving north. Kilmory, 1st April 2012|
|Surfing female eider|
The wind turned to the NE on the 3rd April which brought some snow to higher ground.The wind was ripping right into Loch Scresort that day and the eiders had no choice but to surf it out. One song thrush was observed brooding chicks also on the 3rd.They're fairly early, but that's the gamble many of our resident birds face at this time of year...presumably they were fooled into thinking it was summer by last weeks glorious weather.
Other noteworthy species included a single linnet on the 3rd and a white wagatil on the 3rd and 4th (around the castle grounds).
|The single white wagtail Motacilla alba alba noted on the 3rd and 4th April|
Thought I'd just pause it here for a moment and carry out some bird ID pointers ..check out the differences between white and pied wagtail, these birds are basically races of the same species.White wagtail Motacilla alba alba is the continental form and therefore the bird above is a passage migrant, i.e. a bird passing through Rum. The pied wagtail Motacilla alba yarrellii (pictured below) is the British race and breeds on the island.It's not rocket science, but in alba note the contrasting black crown and nape with the grey mantle (back).In yarrellii the crown and nape are the same colour as the mantle, jet black.
|Motacilla alba yarrellii...a true Scot|
Return passage of winter thrushes has been quite disappointing with only a single redwing at Kinloch all week, and another out over at Harris on the 5th.Lesser redpoll and siskins numbers have been good with many birds heard in Kinloch, presumably passage migrants and some returning breeders.Try the alders near the old Ferry Cottage site (near the current campsite).Oh and some news of our bittern, it was seen on Barra (Outer Hebrides) on the 4th.Well I presume it was ours, as there cant be many other bitterns in these parts at the moment.
Some of the weather in pictures over the last week......
|Hardly snow capped...Hallival and Askival|
|Chilly sunrise out east|
|Another chilly sunrise out east!|