Friday saw me back on Islay after being away in Ethiopia for quite a while. Travelling from the south of the country up to Addis, the vast majority on unmade roads, followed by two more nights of travel, resulted in a strange state of detachment where sleep didn't seem relevant any longer. More impactive though was the drastic drop in temperatures which demanded a few extra layers of clothing being brought into play!!
Arriving back I'd no time to look at E-mails or correspondence as long time friend and past work colleague David Spivack and his wife Amanda were on holiday on Islay and we'd pledged to meet. In many senses I only just made it at the very end of their week's vacation. They'd had a pretty miserable week with storms throughout , but it hadn't dampened their enthusiasm. Our immediate conversation surrounded David's recent appointment as UK Director for Falklands Conservation and his recent visit to the islands. I'll be putting out a Blog at some point highlighting their work and no doubt including an utterly enviable photographic shot of penguins or albatrosses!!!
We elected to go out birding in the afternoon and set off on a quest to pin down a few species that had eluded them due to the weather. We failed, as shortly after setting off I noticed the external temperature had dropped to 2C and then we were enveloped in snow. Could you believe it!!! We eventually made our way to Gruinart and the relative haven of the hides on the reserve. Whooper Swans on the move and absolutely stunning views of a passing Hen Harrier made up for things, but all too soon darkness began to fall. Back for more coffee, conversation, gossip, updates and the like. Reminiscing about RSPB days, talking of Wildlife Trust initiatives ( Amanda works for one of the Trusts ), past visits to Islay and so it went on . All good things come to an end but it's always good to have something to carry over to the next time of meeting. A whirlwind day, but rewarding.