I thought I would write a little something about the wildlife we have encountered at the Cottage (and on our way to it). We nearly always see deer en route from Glasgow – especially in Glencoe and near the Clunie Dam. These are usually the large Red Deer and when viewed close up they are pretty magnificent. Unfortunately they are also fairly stupid creatures, who leap across the road directly in front of you, just when you thought it was safe. Sadly one of these encounters in the snow resulted in car 1, deer 0. Dusk and early morning you see more of them, but in the winter you have to have your wits about you all the time. Over time we have learnt the hotspots, but even so, are constantly surprised when they decide to try somewhere new.
Red Deer are not the only deer we see – there is a small herd of Roe Deer living either side of the road from Kyleakin to Broadford, near the airfield. Supposedly only appearing near dusk, I regret I murdered one at about 7.00 a.m. one morning when it decided to walk in front of my old Discovery. A costly little exercise and not one I would recommend.
At this time of year one of the funniest road signs provides a timely reminder of other four-legged friends:
There were several families on the road last week within a mile or 2 of this sign. Lots of little kids and some magnificent older ones looking as if they were auditioning for the Three Billy Goats Gruff (complete with Bridge – trip trap trip trip trap…)
And they were noisy little blighters ….but luckily for you I can’t work out how to add sound yet …..
We have met otters on many occasions: Christmas Eve 2014 one was wandering along the top of our road, minding his own business at about 6.00p.m. – probably looking for Santa. Since then we have seen them 6 or 7 times on the side of the road near the airfield – usually in the dark, about 10.00 p.m. You just catch a glimpse of their wonderful sinuous bodies, lolloping along beside the ditches, and a flash f mad staring eyes as your headlights pick them out. Best of all though has been to see one fishing and dragging its meal out onto a little island about 2 miles downstream from the kayaks – magical.
We have met one Wild Boar claiming right of way in the middle of the road near Eilean Donan; been overflown by a young sea eagle on its way to Pabay (and seen him lurking around the telegraph wires in the township elsewhere. This morning I watched two male Goldeneyes hopelessly pursuing a fairly disinterested female on the inlet, bobbing their heads characteristically and disappearing underwater for snack attacks every few minutes. These were followed by a lone Tufted Duck, which seemed to spend most of its time under, rather than on the water. There were fish jumping and the “usual suspects” of Hoodie Crows, Herring Gulls, mallards, Curlew and Oystercatchers (plus innumerable unidentified Little Brown Jobs) – Spring has Sprung.
The lesser spotted tourist is now on the scene again, having been largely absent over the winter. Flocks of these can be seen stopping on the road to Elgol, to take pictures of the locals: