Wednesday 18 August 2010

"I just love em"

Autumn is starting to pick up with more warblers appearing. Willow Warblers (eg 20 on 14th) make up the bulk but a scattering of Garden Warblers, a couple of Blackcap plus Grasshopper and Reed Warbler have also been seen. Highlights however have been the delightful Wood Warblers (up to three from 11th), Barred Warblers (3+ from 14th) and best of all an Arctic Warbler (14th-15th). The latter was discovered by my AW Jack Ashton-Booth (remember that name folks!) who was ecstatic to find one of his "dream birds" and to watch Arctic, Barred and Garden Warblers all together on top of one small bush at Shirva! All the photos with this post are his. Other recent sightings include Blackbird & Common Rosefinch (10th), Kestrel (11th), Sand Martin (14th) and a trickle of common waders, including Ruff (11th & 12th), Green Sandpiper (11th & 16th) and two Black-tailed Godwits. The breeding Sedge Warblers are now feeding young whilst the Swallows at the Mast are trying for a second brood!! Lets hope the marauding cats don't find them!
At the Obs, work continues with the building completion and going through the snagging list - including persuading the water from the showers to run down the drains instead of into the bedrooms - which will be nice!
At home, kids went back to school today, except for Lachlan - who is stuck here due to rain & mist/low cloud preventing the planes from getting in. Hollie and I have become proud (grand)parents again as our broody hen (actually Triona's hen we have borrowed) has hatched out two of the six eggs she has been sitting on for the past three weeks. We have admitted defeat in our fight with the hen mites. Despite part dismantling, scrubbing, spraying, fumigating and powdering the hen house some of the little blighters remain alive. I have started to make a new, larger one and will have to burn the infested building. The ponies have been getting a fair amount of exercise lately with Hollie and the kids as well as the Kenaby crowd taking them out almost daily. They certainly need it as Bijoux has taken to ducking under the electric fence when the power is off at night and stuffing her face on a field of fresh grass!! We have been involved with alot of baling recently. Lifting the sileage bales becomes back-breaking after a while but the hay bales are just a joy to work with. We now have a nice stack of wrapped sileage bales on our croft, ready for the sheep in the winter, although Triona's cow has already leant over the fence and made a start on a few!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Derek
    There is no point in burning the chicken shed, unless the birds going into the new shed are completely free of mites, which is very very unlikely. If you have not tried the new product from Elanco called Elector, then give it a go on the old building. It is expensive, but everyone in the chicken industry says it is working extremely well. However when it works, don't just rely on it solely, use conventional products once Elector has got the majority of the ticks down. You will never get rid of them, but with a rotation of products you will get them down to a manageable level. By the way another way of killing red mites is to spray old chip fat on the lower surfaces of the shed and on the floor nearest the wall. They basically get stuck and die. It also has the advantage of no resistance problems I don’t work for Elanco by the way but have been involved with chickens for 25 years.
    I wish I had found an Arctic when I have been on Fair Isle, hope to get there next year
    Iain Brown


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