There was, we were told last Saturday, a delicious aroma of strawberries wafting out of the hall and into the village. This news shouldn’t have come as a surprise, given that our annual Strawberry TeaZ was underway with this wonderful spread on offer:
There were strawberries every-which-way, from strawberry sandwiches, to strawberry tarts, cakes, cream buns, jellies, cheesecakes, pavlovas, tiramisus, pastries, and more.
This feast of strawberry-ness attracted a wonderful – and extremely sociable – crowd of visitors, regulars and their friends, along with people who were either going to, or coming from, the Fortingall Art Exhibition.
It was a great afternoon and all these hungry people meant that, by the end, there was literally nothing left. Many thanks to all our bakers and to those who helped to organise and run the event.
Facebook users will have seen Keith Brockie’s recent pictures of young ospreys, and here he tells us a bit more about his work ringing and monitoring the young birds.
I have been monitoring the Perthshire osprey population since 1982, when there were only 4 breeding pairs. Now, Perthshire has between 40 and 50 pairs.
Osprey chicks are ringed with a numbered metal ring from the British Trust for Ornithology, who run the ringing scheme. A special license is needed to disturb ospreys as they are a specially protected Schedule One species.
I also put an individually numbered/lettered coloured plastic ring on the left leg, which enables the birds to be followed on their travels to their wintering grounds in Senegal, or Gambia on the west coast of Africa. Some birds are now wintering in Spain and Portugal. Through sightings, we can follow their return to Scotland when they are two years old. Males tend to return to their natal area, but females disperse more widely.
It is also possible to monitor the longevity of individual birds. For example, EJ is the current female at RSPB Loch Garten. I ringed her as a chick near Bridge of Cally, Perthshire, on the 14th July 1997. She is now 21 years old and still attempting to breed.
There is still much to learn about our expanding osprey population.
Pictures copyright to Keith Brockie.
Keith took these pictures of an Osprey brood on Loch Tay about a week apart towards the end of July. Sharp-eyed readers may recognise the background!
This week, the article on ospreys segues beautifully into the Book Club report, where the book of the month was ………….. H is for Hawk!
The book discussed in July was H for Hawk by Helen McDonald. We had some apologies from those unable to attend but they kindly provided email comments for the discussion.
Opinion was divided, and this book not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’. However, there was general agreement that it was an interesting book with excellent descriptions but, whilst it was enjoyed by some, others found it heavy going and had to persevere to complete it.
We felt this book was quite unusual, with its combination of different genres in the one book. The backbone of the book was the memoir/autobiography of the author during the year in which her father died and she trained a goshawk. She was overcome by grief and the process of training the Hawk and building a relationship with it, helped her deal with her grief.
Her memoir was interspersed with biographical writing about, and detailed references to, TH White’s, The Goshawk (1951), which is an account of White’s attempt to train a northern goshawk using traditional, rather than modern, falconry techniques.
Within the group, previous experiences, attitudes to hunting or keeping a wild bird as a pet, influenced the enjoyment and understanding of the text. Some felt the book didn’t flow with the writing related to White breaking the flow of the narrative.
The discussion extended to other books about animals where some could recall being devastated when the animal died (e.g. Black Beauty) leaving a lasting impact on the reader. In this instance, relief was felt when the hawk didn’t die!
All in all, mixed reviews from the group.
The next Book Club meeting is on the 8th August and the book is Accident on the A35 by Graeme McCrae Burnet, a favourite author of the group. It has been described as an accomplished, multi-layered crime story set in France from the Booker-shortlisted Scottish author.
The next FVA event is the Coffee Morning planned for 25th September at 10.30 am in the village hall. Work on the kitchen renovation in the hall may affect this, but we will keep you up to date with this on the blog.
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