Posted on behalf of Kila - WDCS Canine Research Assistant
We're back … and yes, it's taken a while for the "humans" to let me put paw to paper but as you'll have seen in previous postings, they've had a few flippered critters that they wanted to tell you about. So in the meantime, my assistant (Harvey, or "the Harvester" as he's otherwise known) and i have been out and about scouring the beaches (to see if we could find any driftwood; these being the "stickless isles" and all), dipping all 8 paws in the surf and generally checking out what else there is on offer to keep us canines occupied - and believe me, there's loads!
Although we've had our fair share of windy days since we've been here, and the humans have been complaining about not being able to get out and "watch", we on the other hand delight in these weather conditions as for us it means more time spent on a variety of beaches - and the beaches here just seem to go on and on and on and on …
Sadly today, the weather was favouring the humans - 1 went out on a boat, whilst the other took us up to their land-based watching site (otherwise known as the "head")! By all accounts, the boat-bound human had a bit of a bumpy time of it but spotted a few wee harbour porpoises (and checked out one of the underwater listening devices that they put into the water a while back), whilst on land we had our first sighting of a basking shark (apparently none too many in these waters of late so this was good news!) and a sighting of the boat-bound human … although i couldn't quite see that far so it could have been any old human, but i did hear them on the radio so i guess i believe them!
Later in the day, once the wind and sea-state (see … I'm even learning the lingo!) had dropped, all 4 of us returned back up to the "head" to see what we could see see see! Not long after our arrival there followed much excitement as the shout of "minke" went up a few times, followed by "Risso's" and then "more Risso's" … which for the humans i'm told is fabulous news, but for us canines means possibly less beach time … but being the loyal creatures that we are, we shall join them and rejoice in their happiness - for now anyway!!
The downside to our time on the "head" however, was that the wind dropped a wee bit too much for our liking and the dreaded midgies made their very unwelcome appearance, en masse!!!! If you've never experienced the infamous "Highland Midge" then count yourself lucky … no-one is immune to their fervent biting behaviour - up your nose, in your ears, your eyes, and generally just everywhere! The rumours are that they prefer dark colours so i tried to stand by my dark-coloured assistant as much as possible (is that not the meaning of the word "assistant" after all?) but to no avail, there were obviously way too many of them to make that tactic an effective one!! Talking of midgies - Harvey and i were just discussing how friendly all the Lewis'ians seemed to be as they kept waving at us all the time, but we then realised that it was them who thought that our humans were the friendly ones, waving at them, when in fact they were just trying to swat the biting beasties and keep their faces midgie-free!
So back to our bothy we came - stopping at the beach on the way of course - and settled in for an evening of dreams full of sheep and rabbits …. oh, have i not mentioned them yet? … ahhhh … of them there are plenty, and for that we are happy dogs!