Spring – as if to tease us ….

As if to tease us, indications of better things to come arrived just as daylight hours reached their minimum. The first tentative daffodil shoots appeared amongst the rapidly dwindling Calendulas in the garden and deep in the hedge a Song Thrush started to sing. Knowing that the worst of winter is still to come I […]

Watch out there’s a Tiger about

Doing the early rounds of the garden this morning I noticed big holes in some of the rhubarb leaves. The culprit was a large, hairy, black and orange caterpillar – the unmistakeable ‘Woolly Bear’ larvae of the Garden Tiger (Arctia caja).  In the hedge a Sedge Warbler was belting out it’s scratchy song and in […]

Coming soon…return of Arctic Terns

Coming soon to a beach near you – the return of Arctic Terns and other summer visitors.
As I’m starting to write this (on the 15th March) I suddenly realise that the Redwings that have been around most of the winter seem to have disappeared. These small thrushes arrive in October from Scandinavia and Iceland.  Many pass through the Outer Hebrides on their way to places further south in the UK but some will stay overwinter. In spring they return to their northern breeding areas. At the same time, far away in the Weddell Sea, just off the coast of Antarctica, another migrant species is about to start its long journey back to the beaches of the Outer Hebrides.

Painted Lady Butterflies

Early sightings of an amazing migrant butterfly from the Outer Hebrides. At this time of year, like many naturalists, I look forward to the signs of spring that inevitably herald the better summer weather yet to come; Oystercatchers and Ringed Plovers returning to their machair breeding sites, the first queen bumblebee foraging for nectar on early flowering daisies in the garden and the first butterflies.