Its still pretty quiet on the birding front with just occasional Willow Warbler, a couple of Garden Warblers but lots of Wheatears on the passerine front. A trickle of Waders have provided variety with Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit all been noted in very small numbers (1-5) along with the higher numbers of Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover and Curlew. A Short-eared Owl is the only other thing of note. Swallows have now fledged from the airstrip shed and the new Obs garage. The nights are really drawing in fast and it was very dark and still last night - the boys thus trapped 55 European Storm Petrels in just an hour and a half but there was not even a sniff of a Leach's.
The new Obs building workforce have been taking advantage of the nice spell of weather to crack on with the garage and, although still monstrously huge, it looks much nicer now. Stairs are beginning to appear in the Warden's house! Meanwhile, Puffinn workcampers (supervised by Simon) have been completing the stone path around the outside of the building which was started by Sue (Simon's mum) and they have also commenced with rabbit-proofing the garden and bushes.
We shut the Obs last week, so that all staff could get their holidays in, which gave myself and Hollie time to go out to Shetland for a few days hard labour! We took Lachlan with us to help and spent some time with his girlfriend, Mhairi, and her parents. We all went out to lunch at the Hay's Dock Restaurant to celebrate the two teenagers exceptional Higher Exam results:-)
Myself and Hollie also celebrated TEN years of marriage that day........with a vegeburger supper in the B&B that evening!! Who said romance is dead!?
Whilst out, Hollie took the opportunity to go for a riding lesson and the instructor was extremely complimentary about her riding abilities which has given her the necessary confidence boost to continue with teaching Storm and the children and once back she even (successfully) took Storm for a ride completely on her own!!
(Hol's) Mum has continued to hold the Burkle fort and kept the three younger kids (and dog) safe, fed, entertained and busy for which myself and Hollie are extremely grateful. With the accommodation up here not available for them, it would be impossible to do our jobs effectively without her.
The Burkle chicken mites have succeeded in keeping the poor hens out of their hut for weeks now, except when they need to lay an egg. Thus, we stripped the said hut back to its bare boards and nuked it with a sulphur candle and then sprayed the crevices with insect spray. Tomorrow we will reassemble it, dust the chickens with mite powder and let them back in. Hopefully that will be enough!?
The Big Event on the isle this summer has been the multi-Birthday Bash at Setter Barn with several people celebrating (?) significant landmark birthdays. A cracking night involving lots of live music, lots of dancing, lots of banging tunes and even a bit of impromptu (but totally appropriate!?) karaoke!!! The wee sma' hours came round far too fast that night! There were lots of aching heads, arms and legs the following day......but (unfortunately) that didn't stop the obligatory Sunday footie match!!!