All things bright and beautiful

If you're sitting on the main setteee in our living room you can look out of a window directly on to the saltwaters of Loch Ewe. Some weeks ago, one flat calm early morning, we saw first one then a pair of rare great northern (or were they the equally rare black-throated?) divers busily submerging and re-emerging, sometimes with small fish in their beaks. After an hour or two they were gone only to reappear the next day in the same way. But eventually only one of them arrived, and we deduced that the other was incubating eggs on one of the remote inland lochs where such birds invariably breed. Breed on the freshwater, feed on the salt seems to be the order of their day. It reminded us of the time we sat eating our sandwiches by the inland water known locally as Goose Loch, watching a pair of divers instructing their three youngsters on flight and the fine arts of taking off on water. Comical. Time after time the babes would flap across the surface in a great splashing and spraying, only to sink back to exhausted floatation, parents calling out their strident admonishments or encouragements.  Eventually of course the first babe got itself airborne. What a triumph! We put down our sandwiches and spontaneously clapped our hands.

Two mornings ago we looked out of our bedroom window, transfixed by the wondrous sight of an adult otter teaching two of its cubs about shallow water swimming / fishing. Or were they all just playing?  I'd like to think so. Wildlife is not all, nor is it always about the serious business of survival. Bit like you and me really.

And then, two late evenings ago, in the half light, I looked out of the kitchen window on to our little bit of back lawn. Each morning we scatter seeds and peanuts and other kitchen scraps for a great miscellany of birds, large and small. (I'm sorry to say that grassy patch has become a dining table for sparrow and other hawks. But you can't please all the birds all the time and they all have to live - or try to live.) Anyway there, helping himself to the remains of the largesse was a bushy tailed pine marten. I reckon it had to be a male because of its size. Last night Dee put out peanut butter and jam sandwiches but we saw no return visit, although this morning all that had gone. Probably the greedy gulls. But maybe, just maybe, we'll have made a new friend. One who won't stand for any nonsense, even from the gulls, even from the hawks.If so I'll be trying to take photos for posting here.

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