Leaving the beach we head out across the machair where rabbits scurry for cover. The sandy bank is tunnelled with burrows that resemble a row of gun emplacements. Our track used to link Huisinis with the nearest settlement, a cliff-face path looking down upon a brilliant sea. We approach the deserted Crabhadail where lazy beds run down to the sea. Hardly lazy. Imagine the labour involved in building all those ridge and furrows to plant potatoes. Pressure of population meant that cultivation reached up the hillside. Now daisies in the furrows highlight the rows of lazy beds.
Cloud rolls in off the Atlantic, even though the sun shines brightly, and billows about a bowl of the North Harris hills. Beautiful luminous cloud. Sun glosses the sands on the beach, reflecting cloud, and pattern enthralls me.
July is the season for juveniles and this pipit looks wide-eyed and new to the world. With the fine breeding plumage of some adults soon to fade it's not the easiest season to identify birds. Families of stonechat were a delight.
Slow and narrow coastal road via Lord Dunmore’s castle at Ambhinnsuidhe. At Huisinish we walk the fine beach and talk with an elderly woman who tends her enclosed vegetable plot, tells how she fertilises it with seaweed, and is still there at the end of our day when dunlin, turnstone and ring plover forage amongst fronds of seaweed. A rich coastal strand and a good trail through fields and on shore. The morning very wet, terrain rough. A geo where two black guillemot swim, their red legs visible. Fulmar nesting on the cliff.
Afternoon we walk the NE round from Huisinish. To Loch Crabhadail. Golden eagle, being mobbed by gulls-Nigel's call. A rough and muddy track above the cliffs. Varied terrain, over lazy beds, over bog, contouring below hills where a peregrine flies, down onto a sheltered lochan where canoeists put up several loons. Lovely boulder beach. Then along a fine beach with star fish and Lewisian Gneiss in banded blacks and pink granite. In grassy, peat-like bog I find three golden plover. Their greenish, ochrous yellow patterning disappears in grass in the subtlest camouflage. They do not stir so however did I do it? I can see them clearly because I know they are there. Later, Jane finds a large group and we watch them take wing.
A wild night at Tarbert and the boy racers screech about the place. They disperse, with the coming of the cuckoo at dawn.
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Images from July 2015