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Hebridean Imaging
Hebridean Imaging

Magical Machair

I had a great weekend visiting Lewis – i did my bit for the environment and went over as a foot passenger then travelled by bus (OK well maybe it was because i was too mean and stingy to pay the extorionate ferry fare for the car) – at least i could concentrate on the great scenery.

North Harris from the bus

It was my friend Linda’s birthday on the Saturday. Linda runs the Hebridean Soap Company, based in Breasclete, Lewis and as a birthday treat she closed up the shop at lunchtime and we had a lovely long walk out onto the moors with her dog Mindy, it was a little blowy and drizzling but it was great to be out in the fresh air.

Linda and Mindy across the moors

Out on the moors the heather was out in flower and i also found my first Bog Asphodels and Sundews of the year

Heather

Bog Asphodel

Sundew

As i stayed in Carloway, on Sunday i was able to have a lovely long walk down to the Gearranan Blackhouse village and then on up to the top of the hill – had great views of a bonxie (Great Skua) flying low overhead – and even better because it’s not on Ian’s list for this year yet 🙂

Monday came round all too quickly and i got the bus back down to Leverborough to get the ferry. Saw these crofters busy clipping the sheep as i travelled through South Harris

Shearing, South Harris

The new lifeboat was in the small harbour at Leverborough – it has been there since May this year, it covers an area which would take the Stornoway lifeboat 2 hours to reach. It is still uncertain whether this lifeboat will become a permanent fixture, the trial service will be between 1 and 3 years before a decision is made whether or not to make it permanent. See this article on the BBC news website:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-16637049 and on the RNLI site: http://rnli.org/findmynearest/station/Pages/Leverburgh-Lifeboat-Station.aspx

Leverborough Lifeboat

And shortly after the ferry came in and it was time to return to Uist

Calmac feryy Loch Portain

Calmac ferry Loch Portain coming into Leverborough

Calmac ferry Loch Portain

Unloading...

The weather has been really amazing – apparantly the jet stream has been way south of us, meaning that England is getting all the foul weather – wind and rain – that we would usually have. Can’t help but smile about that – sorry friends and family 🙂

Loch Hallan, South Uist

Loch Hallan, South Uist

Red-breasted Merganser with young, South Uist

A distant record shot, Red-breasted Merganser with young, Loch Hallan

We’ve been able to get out for plenty of walks and we can’t help but be amazed every single time we go out onto the machair at this time of year – it really is looking right at it’s best at the moment – the sheer variety of wildflowers is just incredible, not to mention the butterflies, moths and bees that are feasting on all the nectar!

Canon 60D with 100-400mm lens

Ian with "The Beast" (our name for the Canon 100-400mm zoom lens - because it weighs a ton!)

Dark Green Fritillary, South Uist

and here's the photo he was busy taking - Dark Green Fritillary

6 spot burnet, South Uist

...meanwhile i was trying to photograph this 6 Spot Burnet moth on Ragged Robin

machair, south uist

It's really difficult to capture the sheer variety of wildflowers on the machair

common twayblade, south uist

Common Twayblade

common vetch, south uist

Common Vetch

eyebright, south uist

Eyebright

harebells, south uist

Harebells

orchid, south uist, machair

The orchids are still out amongst the other flowers

ragged robin, south uist, machair

One of my very favourites - Ragged Robin

yellow rattle, south uist, machair

Yellow Rattle

Phew! What more can i say – i haven’t even photographed all of the flower species we found! We had an email from our friend Keith in Gibraltar to say that a friend of his was coming over to look at some insects on the machair then shortly after, the guy himself, Dr. Mike Wilson from the Museum of Wales got in touch to say hi and we arranged to meet up for a beer. Mike was here for just over a week and was doing some insect surveys for the Machair Life project.

Dr Mike Wilson

Mike demonstrating suction sampling in next door's meadow/garden

Bird-wise we’ve just about finished with the wader chick ringing but have been catching plenty of juvenile House Sparrows for our project – luckily we had ordered another 300 colour rings. We’re looking forward to a few birds starting to move through within the next few weeks and will have the nets open whenever we can – at the moment we’re averaging about 10 new birds a day ringed.

Finally, Ian has at last got around to putting a little bit about himself on the About Us page

 

 

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