Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Tunnel Vision

Had a day off today and I wandered a fair whack of the square, re-finding the (presumably resident) Barn Owl in its rocky niche high above the River Conon. I had a local birder contact me today asking for directions to this bird and I've agreed to walk him up to the spot should he be determined enough. It's a steep clamber and he's not the nimblest looking fella. We'll see... to be fair, he did fetch me when he found a White-billed Diver in the bay this spring, so I do need to repay the favour.

Edit - we went up there 3 days later - no sign of the owl. But the wind had changed direction, so it may have merely relocated to a more sheltered roost site rather than having entirely buggered off.

My (thus far) utterly unsuccessful quest to find Hazel Gloves led me into a small watercourse today. There's a wee burn runs beneath the road before it spills it's way into the sea a coupla hundred feet below. I have a hunch that I could turn up Killarney Fern in this particular gulley, the whole place seems just a bit primordial to me. I looked, I failed. Again. 

Oooh a hole!  I should probably check that out...
So this is the overflow tunnel. It runs underneath the A87 and spills out into the croft below, whence it runs into the sea. It's probably/maybe over 4ft diameter so I hit the "LED on" button on the top of my camera and entered. My camera made it a whole 40ft in before the battery died. Arse! Peripherally, I could see a vague brightening of daylight ahead and below me, clearly the tunnel must angle downwards once it clears the road. I didn't risk going further, the water was running between my feet and the tunnel's contours were rather slick. I had visions of losing my footing and being ejected from a height, windmilling my arms through the air, before landing on the croft far below! However, I shall definitely be visiting this tunnel again, for I spied dozens of Cave Spiders before the light died. No hibernating Peacocks, Small Torts, Heralds, bats or anything (though they could be further back) but it's definitely gotta be worth another look soon! 

I found this beast beneath a rock in nearby woodland, apologies in advance for the appalling pic...

Dromius quadrimaculatus - a distinctively patterned carabid
I recognised this distinctive beetle straight away (I still ran it through the keys in case there's a lookalike species - nope, there isn't) Checking the records, it appears that this is just the second record of this nationally widespread beetle for Skye, and only the third for The Hebrides as a whole. Rather annoyingly, my good buddy Mark Telfer (who, I believe, has only been to Skye once) found "Dromius 4-mac" near Ord several years back. Darnit, Mark, what ya like? 

It seriously shocks me that this song is THIRTY FIVE years old! How, just how? 

And through the magic that is YouTube's autoplay...(I actually don't want to know how old this is!)

I'm feeling very, very, especially chilled this week and an awful lot of that has to do with this one track. I've only recently discovered their work, they've achieved a truly sublime sound



  1. As soon as I saw the picture of the hole I just knew you would have had to get in there, even if you had to crawl. I had to smile at your description of a possible 'windmill' exit even though it made my stomach roll at the thought. Maybe a strong torch, new batteries and even a length of rope might be on the list for the next visit?

    As for the speed of time, I'm so old I can actually hear it rushing by ;)

  2. Heralds was my first thought as well. Nice to see signs of you mucking about. Maybe this idea of not doing a square next year will wear off?

    1. I just checked NBN - Herald has been recorded from the adjacent mainland, the adjacent Out Hebs, from Canna, Rum and even from Raasay but NOT from Skye! Then I checked the county moth recorder's database which shows 8 records from 2013 to 2015 but not since. So it's a decent moth up here, I shall have to look inside that tunnel again asap!

      Still not sure what I'm doing regards 2019's silliness yet. I may target selected orders rather than blitz everything again. That way some of it may actually stick :D

  3. Look forward to you going the whole way. down the tunnel.
    A more relevant song

    1. Cheers Martin, that was a harrowing few minutes worth! I now have blood running out of my ears and a need to see humanity ended...but thanks for sharing, buddy :D