Guests staying at Eight Askernish are used to the abundant wildlife just beyond the garden boundary. A favourite amongst our summer visitors are the short-eared owls quartering the ground – flying in broad daylight. Winter time visitors are more likely to be night owls – with antlers. With few humans chosing to visit Eight Askernish in winter, hungry deer move into the garden itself – and there’s no damage deposit to cover the damage to fences, trees and even the mombretia/crocosmia bulbs. Despite several attempts, we’ve still not managed to catch them on the wildlife camera. Stag or doe, they’ve proved illusive. At this time of year – in high summer, with grasses grown high and heavy with seed, wild roses laden with blooms, and the sea breeze filled with the rustle of the marram grass and the call of innumerable birds, there’s wildlife to discover without recourse to subterfuge. The wildlife camera is left undisturbed in the tech cupboard at home.
Today was a turnaround day at Eight Askernish. I eyed a doe! Leaning into a deep window recess to dust the windowcill, I caught sight of this young rabbit grazing the clover along the metre-wide strip of mown grass beside the path around the house. Our turnaround duties lasted around 90mins, and in that time this doe’s grazing moved on less than a metre or so – still grazing the clover, untroubled by our presence in the house.