Posts Tagged 'Bute wildlife'

Duck, grouse

The spouse and I set out for a nice stroll across the moors to Loch Ascog yesterday. It was the Glorious Twelfth, so the Bute grouse population were keeping their heads down to avoid having them blasted off with shotguns. We were rather surprised then, given the risk to bird life and limb, to see an iridescent blue peacock head pop up defiantly from a ditch at the edge of a farm track as we walked by.

Once he had established that we were not in possession of firearms and posh accents, the cheeky chappie proceeded to strut his stuff very attractively in front of us for the next 200 yards, before turning off for his wee wooden house at the side of the track. As a reward for our good behaviour, he gave us a feather.

If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air

Mermaid's purse at Kilchattan Bay, BBC weather forecast: sunny spells

Then you can’t beat lying on a deserted beach in the Firth of Clyde, idly looking through half-shut eyes at an unexpectedly clear blue sky on a sneaky Thursday day off. The only sound is the plaintive peep-peep-peep of oystercatchers and the gentle lapping of waves. And then some bloody chainsaws start in a nearby wood. And then you realise with joy that you can turn the chainsaws off…

The Hills Are Alive

Looking over to Arran from Birgidale Moor, Bute

…with ticks.

Thus far, the spouse has suffered no obvious ill-effects from the severed tick head left embedded in his posterior after last week’s bodged removal attempt, but when he discovered another one nestling into his stomach as we went for a rather nice walk across Birgidale Moor on Saturday,  I decided there would be no theatrical faffing about with tweezers this time. I went for a successful stealth attack with my fingernails in the middle of a field. The blood-sucking varmint came out cleanly, but unfortunately it was along with a 1mm diameter circle of the spouse’s skin pinched accidentally in the process.

Think it might be time to track down a tick twister gadget.

An unwelcome visitor


Tick heaven at sunset, with the Isle of Cumbrae in the background


This morning’s last-minute drama before leaving the house to go to work was the discovery of a tick attached to the spouse’s formidable backside. Neither of us is taking any chances with the bloodsucking critters after my nasty brush with suspected Lyme disease last summer. Fortunately on that occasion it turned out I was only suffering from advanced hypochondria.

It was with this in mind that the spouse was diverted from his journey out of the front door this morning. After hearing a noise, I found him face down and prostrate on the marital bed, writhing as if in a horror movie and shouting “Get it off me! Get it off me!” in the very loud voice required to tear me away from my porridge. He was wearing his fluorescent cycling jacket and his boxers, the trousers and cycle clips having been ripped off in the panic of the initial discovery. I rolled up my sleeves and assumed an authoritatively doctorly manner.

“Calm yer jets, let’s have a look,” I said, firmly pulling down his pants like a pro.

“Never mind having a look, get some Vaseline on it!” screamed the spouse, the double-entendre  uncustomarily escaping his notice in the commotion.

“Vaseline’s no good, you don’t do that these days,” I said even more authoritatively. “Suffocation is passé. They say it makes them regurgitate bugs into your bloodstream. You’ve got to twist the blighters out.” At this point I wished I’d managed to get a hold of one of those tick twister things last summer, but never mind, my eyebrow tweezers would make a fine substitute.

“Aye, right, forget the lecture, just get on with it and make sure you don’t leave the head in” came the ungrateful reply.

I fetched my equipment and prepared myself mentally to execute a deft removal. I flourished the tweezers theatrically in front of the patient so that he would feel completely involved in every stage of the procedure, before giving him a running commentary of my surgical intentions, just like the professionals of my recent acquaintance.

“Right, here goes, this won’t hurt a bit…oh SHIT!”

Unfortunately, in the dreaded worst case scenario, the body and the legs of the tick came away in my hands leaving the head and mouthparts firmly embedded under the skin where they might now cause a nasty infection.

I refused the desperate invitation to dig the bits out with a needle, opting instead for a quick dab on the backside with a hearing aid wipe, and making a note to check for gangrene in 24 hours.


Batten down the hatches...

After weeks of freak endless crisp sunshine, the weather has turned wet and windy and, according to the BBC, a meteorological Armageddon is due to strike Scotland on Wednesday. Undeterred, the spouse and I got on the ferry and are now cosily ensconced in the Buteshack with a plentiful supply of cava and Extremely Chocolatey Mini Rolls. It’s his birthday this week and although he’s not saying anything, I know he’ll be hoping that I come up with something better than last year’s makeshift present of the wishbone from the chicken wrapped up in a handmade card fashioned from the ‘Police on Patrol’ page of The Buteman. The wishbone didn’t even work, apparently.

There has been lots of loud hammering going on upstairs since we arrived, but as long as the jackdaws in the attic don’t have access to any power tools, I think we’re safe. Our friends the mice seem to have completely vanished, and the spouse is proudly claiming the credit since installing his plug-in sonic rodent deterrent. I’m a little more sceptical of the £9.99 device, which emits an unverifiable sound outwith the range of human hearing. I could just plug the radio in and get the same result and it wouldn’t cost us a penny.

It reminds me of an old joke which goes something like this:

Two men are on a train and one of them is rolling up little bits of newspaper into balls and throwing them out the window onto the track.

Man 1: “Why are you rolling newspaper up into balls and throwing them out the window?”

Man 2: “To keep elephants off the track.”

Man 1: “But there aren’t any elephants on the track”

Man 2: “I know, it works really well doesn’t it.”

Contrary to the spouse’s claims for his sonic device, the real reason for the mice’s departure is that they have run out of practical jokes to play on us and have gone to gnaw through the brake cables on a few mobility scooters up the road instead.

More terror in the attic

This weekend on Bute was totally mouse free. Fortunately there was no sign of the giant ceiling-crushing jackdaws either. This extract from the annals of The Buteman newspaper made us realise that there are even worse things to have in your attic than jackdaws…

Thank goodness we have doors on common closes nowadays


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