Sunday, 19 October 2014

Merging into the mountains...

 A walk up Sgurr Dhomhnuill on the Sunday (12th) to cover the higher ground and experience some mountain ecology. lovely mosses and lichens on the ascent and a huge amount of fir clubmosses growing at 1500ft and beyond. Red deer bellowing and interacting all around the barren treeless landscapes with the odd raven passing through. Near the summit we saw a painted lady butterfly and a white-tailed bumblebee and the highlight on the way down was finding ptarmigan droppings and hearing a distant bird calling just after the discovery! A couple of common frogs in the sphagnum moss further down and jays and bullfinch in the oakwoods as we made our way back down to the car.

Ptarmigan droppings 2300ft up Sgurr Dhomhnuill
In the afternoon we headed right out to the head of the peninsula where we had a short coastal walk on Sanna and sightings were a juvenile wheatear and a couple of ringed plovers. 

We drove round to the point where we would be based for the night and it was lovely clear skies so I did some starscapes of the surrounding area and enjoyed some wonderful nocturnal connections with nature, with the sound of the waves, shooting stars and watching the moonrise over to the east. 

Startrail, Ardnamurchan lighthouse
On the Monday we slowly worked our way back to the east and back round to Morvern peninsula where we stopped at the Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve of Rahoy Hills. We followed the track through the mixed deciduous woodland and the first records were common darters basking on the track along with two common hawkers further along in the opening. We soon got onto a golden eagle cresting the skyline and heading our way. It suddenly broke into a surge of flapping and display diving right overhead and as we looked over our back there was a distant golden eagle with two buzzards mobbing it! An amazing show of territorial behaviour! A great few days, thank you Andrew.