Green hairstreak butterfly

I hadn’t knowingly seen a green hairstreak butterfly before but there were two of them flying and landing near where I sat this afternoon (at dog training) and for once I had the right lens on.

Mull butterflies

We have a couple of late calving cows in the field in front of the house, and it was quite magical yesterday to see that this dun one had given birth, on her own away from the others. I didn’t want to disturb her by going any closer, so please excuse the distant photograph.

She sat looking at the calf for some time, in the same place on their own. She stood up when some guests walked into the field to look at the view, some distance away, watching them intently but not moving away from the calf or in their direction. Later, when I next looked out, the rest of the cows and calves had come over to have a look. There was something quite special about a new born being introduced into the family group. Today they are all grazing together as one unit again.

Mull cattle

I am really enjoying the woodland trees flowering. The willows are particularly beautiful and it is great to see the extent of the natural regeneration away from the seed source beginning to thicken up the hill.

Mull cottages willow

Mull wild

Mull willows

Mull woodland

Lambing continues…the thrills and spills, and long days for the farmer. These ewes and lambs are on their way back to the hill.

Mull sheep lambs

Sunsets on Mull

The sunsets on Mull are pretty spectacular, wherever you are. Here at Treshnish I think we are incredibly lucky as we see them all year round. We just have to look in a slightly different direction depending what time of year it is. In the winter the sunset moves towards the Treshnish Isles, but at this time of year they roll up the horizon with the lengthening days to the northern tip of the Isle of Coll. This week has seen some wonderful examples. Here is last night’s,

Mull sunsets cottages

sunset cottage Mull

and this evening’s.

Mull cottage sunset

Mull cottages sunset

I hope you enjoy them.

Lambs everywhere

Tonight we went to the last check of the day, and there seemed to be lambs everywhere. The evening sun was beautiful. So were the lambs!

Mull Lambs

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A primrose carpet

The Primroses are in their prime just now, and this morning I went out to the Point to photograph a primrose carpet! It was beautiful out there. Skylarks, Buzzards, Ravens, Wheatear for company. Views up past Rum to Skye and beyond.

Primrose_Mull_cottage

Loch Tuath

We had to drive along Loch Tuath this afternoon to collect a new (to us) livestock trailer that we bought from a neighbouring farmer. What a good excuse to take the camera with me! The sun was glorious. For 7 years we drove this road taking our daughter to meet the school car. At this time of year it was always a highlight to watch the trees come into leaf, and to see whether the ash had come out before the oak (sign of a soak) or whether the oak had come out before the ash (sign of a splash). Today it looked to us like the oak was out before the ash, but only just. So much to celebrate in the tree.

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We came home to another beautiful evening. Farmer did the rounds checking the lambing fields again. He brought one lamb home from a set of triplets to give them all a better chance of survival. The sunset developed into something very special. The cat did some sunset cat pose yoga.

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And just as I am about to go to bed.. the sky changes again.

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Mull lambs

The views from the lambing fields are good at any time, but give them a bit of early evening light and the world becomes enchanted.

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Two Mull lambs looking for their mother – they were swiftly reunited.

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The hillocks in Scoma give a grand view back to Treshnish. It is the first time I have looked at Duill sitooterie, showing up quite well in the early evening sunlight.

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There are many pairs of twins in Scoma. The medieval walls of the old dwellings and enclosures make good shelter from the wind.

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Looking back towards the white strip of sand on Calgary Beach from Scoma. Beautiful!

The Ensay mug

One of our guests who stayed in Shieling last winter sent us some photographs of a mug she had made when she got home to Bristol – the Ensay mug. The mug is stoneware and, in Amanda’s own words, “The glaze was made entirely from rock found at the quarry at Ensay with seawater collected on our last day from Treshnish coast added. Igneous rock contains oxides which when made into glaze can withstand kiln firing temperatures.”

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Ensay_mug3 (1)

Amanda is an artist working in Bristol.

I love the idea of elements of Treshnish/Ensay being taken and made into something so elemental and beautiful. Thank you Amanda for letting me include this in our blog, and for allowing me to use your photographs.

Another Aurora!

Seeing another Aurora last night was the icing on a very lovely Easter cake. Ish. I cannot remember a more beautiful Easter weekend. The weather has been wonderful, there are so many flowers appearing – not to mention the bird activity. My family had an Easter lunch picnic at the old boathouse down below the Treshnish Cottages. It was warm and we sat lazily in the sun watching our picnic cook on the fire in front of us. Scanning the sea for otters, but perhaps we were too noisy. As we walked back up the hill though, the curlews were calling, their distinctive sound filling the late afternoon air.

We had a great sunset, and then when we should have been asleep, we were out in the garden watching this. What an end to a wonderful weekend.

auroraborealis_Mull

There are more photographs from the weekend here.

PS Farmer joined us for the picnic but lambing is in full swing now and so he is out at all times of day and night in his maternity doula role.

The first pet lamb

The first pet lamb. A noisily hungry lamb whose mother has deserted her along the coast. The mother was nowhere to be seen, so Farmer (having watched all day) brought her home.

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Perfect weather for Easter Saturday. Brilliant blue sky and delicate flowers on the machair at Calgary. The beach was busy but not crowded. Some even went swimming!

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The moon on Mull

The clear skies last night provided me with a wonderful moon. I hadn’t photographed the moon before, but the moonlight was so bright I just had to try. I drove from Torloisk along Loch Tuath shortly before midnight. A bright golden moonlight was dancing on the stillness of the sea loch. The sky was so bright – but I didnt have my camera or tripod with me. Thankfully it was still bright when I got home.

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Mull_moonlit_daffs

This field of daffodils are a bit of Hebridean farming history. In the 1970s a project was started to encourage farmers and crofters to diversify – into bulb growing! It didn’t last long, but we enjoy these incongruous rows of daffodils each spring.

Daffodils_Mull

Lambing has started… As we scanned the ewes in February, we were able to bring the ewes in who were expecting twins and put them in one field on their own, the in-by flock of Cheviot and Zwartble ewes are in a second field and the older ewes expecting single lambs are in a third.

feeding sheep Mull

This made it easier to make sure each lot had the right amount of supplementary feeding to maintain them and their unborn lambs. It does mean there will be less bluebells flowering in certain fields this year though – the constant balancing act between animal welfare and bio-diversity, which animal welfare has to win every time. So this year the field with the bluebell knolls is full of nibbling sheep.

The rest of the ewes are on the hill as usual, and Farmer walks the hill to check them. The ewes in the fields are checked several times a day, as he can easily access most parts of the fields on the quad. They get quite used to him buzzing through the fields at this time of year.

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The first set of twins were born yesterday, Blackface. You could see the hooded crows (hoodies) bobbing about around the ewe, just waiting for their chance to attack. It is quite brutal to experience the reality of lambing outside, with all the potential for nature’s intervention. We don’t have foxes on Mull, but lambs (and ewes) are susceptible to ravens, black backed gulls, hooded crows and eagles. Farmer has not seen a sea eagle take one of his lambs so he won’t say more than that on the subject, but he has seen the damage birds can do, and had to deal with the results of such attacks. Luckily, in this case the two lambs were soon up on their feet and feeding hungrily, so the hoodies flew off.

Mull coastline walks

It was lovely to see my first wood anemone yesterday.

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