29 March 2011
There could be huge changes in Lewis with the enforcement of an element of the Human Rights Act. It could mean the end of swings tied up on Saturday nights so kids can't play on them on Sundays, the closed swimming pool, and the closed golf club. If enforced, and there's every chance it will be, it is nothing short of revolutionary. As an outsider I think the changes are necessary but don't (at the moment) go far enough: supermarkets won't open, petrol stations will remain closed etc, but I concede that it brings to an end something quite special and unique. Lewis is a place apart, its remoteness emphasised by both distance and the customs of people who live there. It's a shame in a way, and I hope, futilely, that the Lewis-ness is preserved.
In other news, osprey season has well and truly begun with the shock arrival of Scotland's oldest breeding osprey, Lady, at Loch Of The Lowes at Dunkeld.
Last year she nearly died due to a mystery illness, and her death throes were watched live on webcam. As thousands of viewers of the webcam watched horrified she fell off the nest, apparently dead, only to haul herself to the loch side and drink (ospreys get all their liquid intake from fish and never drink), and then, a couple of hours later, regain enough energy to fly back to the nest and eventually feed herself and get her strength back. She raised two chicks, her 47th and 48th. When she left for her emigration at the end of the season, everyone bid her a tearful and final farewell, certain that the rigours of the 3000 mile journey south would be too much for the weakened bird.
We certainly didn't expect her to survive the winter or to make the trip back, and yet, incredibly, she has. Such has the reaction been from the public, the Scottish Wildlife Trust has crashed, and has had to disable posting comments facility, to allow their staff to focus their efforts on the osprey.
This osprey is just astonishing. She has returned to breed in the same nest now for 21 years. Twenty One years. The contribution she has made to the osprey population, not to mention our knowledge of ospreys, is inculable. It made me very emotional to see her again after such trials. And she seems in very fine fettle, raring to go. So fingers crossed for a healthy season :-)