Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Fleur-winter, a wedding and windy weather!

Well it’s finally time for the blog update!! I know many of you have been enquiring as to why it hasn’t been updated for so long and we can but apologise. Having had a busy season and with the boys and I whizzing off here and there, there never seemed to be enough time. But now we are back and it is at the top of my list – so here we go!
As many of you might have known Mark and myself were getting married at Christmas this year and I am pleased to report we managed to do that successfully! The weather was pretty awful in Cornwall on the run up to the wedding but everybody managed to get there and we had the most amazing day- even the rain went on strike for most of it!! Kevin, Alison, Heather, Gavin and the dogs all made the long journey down from North Ronaldsay to join us and helped teach the Cornish folk some proper Scottish dancing although several people did get a little over enthusiastic and almost caused fatalities, but ‘Dance-master’ Kevin soon had it all going smoothly. Heather’s amazing fiddle playing brought a touch of the islands to Cornwall and it was beautiful. Also I must add that our lovely Rael ( and of course my gorgeous husband Mark) scrubbed up pretty well for the occasion and did the Bird Obs proud- in fact I expect many of you barely recognise them without torn clothing, eau d’ Fulmar and binoculars!!

The new Mr and Mrs Warren and Rael doing his best catalogue pose!
After the wedding we were lucky enough to visit Cuba on honeymoon (Mark and Myself – not Rael!) and we had the most amazing trip. There was even time to have a look at some of the native bird species- much to Mark’s delight I even spotted some myself. (I think this bird watching business is starting to rub off on me!) We saw Hummingbirds, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Palm and Cape May Warblers (the latter seemed to have a penchant for butter and mayonnaise) and my highlight a Giant Lizard Cuckoo! And so my fate as a birding WAG was sealed it would seem!
The Giant Lizard Cuckoo -We initially thought this was a monkey from the amount of noise it was making crashing about in the trees. Unlikely to turn up on North Ron-apparently they're not the greatest fliers of the world!
The Cape May Warbler-This cheeky little chap was obviously onto a good thing as he discovered the butter bowl and on the buffet – he kept diving in for a mouthful every few minutes.
Now we are back to North Ronaldsay and there was a bit of a surprise on our return. Apparently Cornwall wasn’t the only place over the winter to have a heavy dose of rain and wind! North Ronaldsay took a huge battering and as a result we are now missing 3-4 miles of our sheep dyke.  Most of the damage was to the east side of the island until the week we returned when we saw firsthand how powerful the sea really is. In the space of an hour one afternoon the whole of the wall around Gretchen Loch was demolished by the waves sweeping into the bay-you could have gone surfing on the Loch! Surprisingly there was one survivor – Gretchen Bird Hide! Against all odds it survived with no damage to it. For any visitors returning to us this year, you will be in for a bit of a shock as you wander about the island. The wall is going to be re built but the estimated time frame for this is unknown at the moment-it may well be years!

Gretchen during the storm

Part of the (former) eastern dyke near Bewan
And now to finish up on Obs news! There have been a few changes at the Obs this year as Ric has opted for a change of scene and headed over to sunnier climes in Australia! (You can’t really blame him after the weather here this winter!) He is doing a placement over in Broom Bird Observatory for a year – quite a change from North Ron as apparently so far in the kitchen he has had to remove a Python, Brown Goshawk and an Australian Giant Centipede! Rael too has decided on a change investigating opportunities abroad and plans to spend a bit more time at Spurn this year. I’m sure we will still see plenty of him although he will not be a regular fixture here this season. So that means we will be getting some new staff due to start in March. We will introduce you to them in the next blog update. Exciting and busy times ahead for all of us here on North Ronaldsay so we really will keep you updated a little bit better this year!

1 comment: