Thursday, 12 January 2017

It's Snowing!

For the second day running I saw a break in the weather and legged it to the beach only to be caught out again. This time it was snow. But this is Skye, so the variety we get up here is known as Sideways Snow. I took a quick video of it arriving at the beach at almost precisely the same time that I did.

It didn't settle, the ground was too wet, but it looked good for about five minutes. The gull flock was facing directly into the wind, hence all I could see were a bunch of hunched shoulders with wingtips. Annoyingly I needed to be at the other side of the beach to be able to scan through for white-wingers. I huddled my way through Uig Woods and came out on the other side of the river. The snow had stopped although the wind was still bitingly cold. I made good use of a bunch of pallets as a windbreak, I shall name it Gibster's Hide. Until someone takes them all away again. 

So that's protection from the north and west winds. Should have thought of this earlier!
This is right next to the stack of pallets. I have no idea what it is, I keep meaning to ask someone. I call it the Glove Totem. Maybe it's a shrine to those lost at sea or a tourist attraction for rubber fetishists. I really don't know. 

Thoughts anybody?
Sheltered now from the wind I began to scan the gulls in earnest. Maybe 150 birds out there, my hopes were high...but no, just Herring Gulls, Great Black Backs and a few Common Gulls. Again. Six Red-breasted Mergansers were close inshore, the males throwing their heads up in courtship displays. One way to keep warm I guess. I threw my head about a bit too, but no luck. If there were any ladies in the vicinity they kept well away from me. 

One thing you may be able to see from the above pictures is that the beach is very flat. And black. There aren't any rockpools to explore, so I have to turn rocks in search of stuff. One thing that I really really really must do is remember to bring a bucket and pitchfork down here! Just look at what I'm missing! 

All empty and all untickable. The live ones are buried out of sight.
Apparently a rake works pretty well too. I have all of these items in the garage. All I gotta do is remember them! The tides are very low this coming weekend. As you may have guessed from the frequency of my blogging, I haven't been working at all so far this year (hotel is closed for a month at the mo while builders tear the whole frikkin' place apart upgrade a few minor amenities...) but I'm starting a bit of extra work at the weekend, typical that it coincides with these very low tides. Never mind, I'll remember that rake/pitchfork one day and scoop a bucketful (literally!) of lifers. 

I checked on the dead sheep one more time. Still dead. It too was trying its best to keep warm, buried under a huge mound of seaweed. Something has been munching away on it, something I haven't found yet. 

Wild sheep marinade anybody? Seaweed on the side?
I was still cold so I wandered back via the woods. A huge surprise addition to the NG3963 List was a Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) that I unintentionally spooked from beneath a bramble clump. It promptly scampered up and over a 4ft drystone wall and sped off across an open sheep field. I had no idea we had Rabbits here, I thought the farmers would have shot them all by now (they do that kinda thing up here). Cool, at least it was something new to the list. I papped and potted a few more lichens but haven't grilled them yet. 

I'm finally moving out tonight, builders are taking over for the next week or so. Aimée gets back tomorrow evening and we don't move back in here until about 20th/21st Jan. Luckily we're only moving up the hill a bit, and I'm working for my keep so it won't work out too expensive. To be fair it'll be bloody nice to have heating and a decent hot shower again as opposed to scooping icy water out of pots to wash myself, which is what I've been doing this past few days.'s certainly one way to wake yourself up in the mornings!

Oh, and it's snowing again. And settling :) 

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