The Amazing Ardfern Auction
Our first fundraiser to raise money for a local playing field will be taking place tomorrow and we can't wait!
Over 60 pledges will be up for grabs ranging from fencing lessons to an overnight stay in a yurt to boat trips to homemade baking.
For more info and a list of pledges visit the fundraising page on Facebook
Saturday 5th March, 7pm start at The Galley of Lorn pub in Ardfern
The village is pooling together to try and raise the money to buy our children a community space to play in. If you think this sounds like a good idea and would like to help then please visit our Facebook fundraising page. Thank you!
Well the sudden sunshine certainly brought the birds out this month and Bob Carss (who, in the absence of Ju was accompanying Jan) and Jan had a most enjoyable morning with lots to see although there weren’t the great excitements of last month!
The two Slavonian Grebes were still in the bay below Gartcharron and there was an unusual Oystercatcher with a white head in with all the others, on the shore of Loch Beag. This bird may have been there for a while, as Ju and Jan have seen it (or a similar one) before.
Totals for the count were as follows: 46 Canada Geese, 11 Grey Herons, 42 Oystercatchers, 10 Curlews, 12 Red Breasted Mergansers, 36 Eider Duck, 3 Goldeneye, 2 Little Grebes, 1 Black Throated Diver, 38 Wigeon, 4 Redshank, 10 Shelduck, 8 Mallard, 3 Shag and 2 Slavonian Grebes. Strangely no Teal or Greylag Geese were seen although both have been around recently.
To see photos check out our Flora & Fauna page
Despite the cold wind and snow flurries (we just finished before it started in earnest!), Jan and Ju enjoyed one of their best morning's count this month. There were big numbers of geese on the Barbreck fields; 120 Greylags, and 41 Canada Geese. The Loch, including the Lagoon, held 25 Eider, 20 Red-breasted Mergansers, 20 Mallard, 19 Wigeon, 12 Teal, 7 Goldeneye, 4 Shelduck and 2 Little Grebe. As to waders, there were 35 Oystercatchers, 11 Curlew and 5 Redshank, along with 7 Shag and 4 Grey Herons. Pretty much all the usual suspects!
But there were also three highlights. Two Great Northern Divers were just off the entrance to Loch Beag. They don't usually see them until May. Two Slavonian Grebes were on the water below Gartcharran. Only around 70 pairs nest in Britain (in the Highlands), and numbers in winter are usually around a thousand, so to find two here was very exciting. And finally, they saw not one but two Golden Eagles. Initially they both soared over the south-east end of Eilean McChrean, then one drifted across the lagoon, over their heads and away to the hill behind.
In other news, Bob Goudy found a Little Auk fluttering along the road outside Ford. Relatives of the Puffin, these little birds winter out at sea, and breed in places like Iceland. It was probably blown in by strong winds, and was unable to take off from the road. He brought it to Loch Craignish and released it here. It seems to be one of several found in Argyll, though not nearly as many as have been rescued on the East coast. Mary Smythe spotted a kingfisher on the Barbreck burn yesterday morning. And finally (sadly) Ju found a fresh-dead young kittiwake by the shore near the boatyard moorings this morning.
Congratulations to local Minister Ken who has been awarded an OBE for services to the community in Malawi and to Scottish-Malawi Relations.
The article fromThe Oban Times below has the full story but if you're having trouble reading it then the full article is also available here: http://www.netherlornchurches.org.uk/events/reverend-professor-kenneth-ross-awarded-obe/
What a contrast to last month! While Ju is enjoying penguins in the Antarctic, Jan did the December count at low tide on a dry, still day and saw:
There were also several seals about both in Craignish Lagoon and in Loch Beag.
This month was remarkable for the lack of birds seen. We think that the rough weather of the previous few days, and a strong cold Westerly wind with squally showers yesterday had driven them all into hiding!
As to actual numbers, we found:
4 Greylag Geese (96 in October)
6 Red-breasted Mergansers (43)
5 Eiders (95)
4 Little Grebes (6)
5 Herons (11)
and a total of 9 waders (curlew, redshank and oystercatchers).
In other news, Jan saw 8 Whooper Swans landing on the Lagoon on Sunday; sadly, they didn't stay long! A Woodcock was on the hill behind the Village Hall this morning (raised by a dog!), along with possible sighting of a male Hen Harrier.
"A woman runs and runs, faster and faster until she explodes in to a million shining pieces.
A man stands at the edge of a broken pier, a glass of white wine in one hand and a pint of Guinness in the other, looking up to the stars."
Last night in Craignish Village Hall we saw an amazing show all about Craignish from the hugely talented Flanagan Collective.
Here are a couple of the beautiful poems/songs from 'Fable' - https://soundcloud.com/flancol/wind-and-stones-fable - and you can see them performing it from next week in New York!
As the street lights go out tonight, Ardfern will be filled with all sorts of spookiness, come and join in on the guising if you dare!!
Burgers, pumpkin soup and pints of bat blood available in the village shop car park from 7pm! No charge but donations welcome to raise money for Syrian children.
So this October, this is what Ju and Jan observed:
In other news, flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare are moving through now. These birds breed in Scandinavia and spend the winter in Britain where they strip trees of their berries in no time flat! Members of the Thrush family, Fieldfare are very vocal, and big flocks sound like the old-fashioned football rattles.
More next month!