“What’s that white thing?!” a guest asked as we bobbed gently on the calm waves. We were moored in a small bay by Jura, just a few metres from the shore. Indeed, as I looked above the rocky shoreline, a creamy white blob moved busily next to a bush.
“That” I said, lowering my binoculars, “would be a deer’s bum”.
The red deer are almost impossible to spot against the rusty orange colour of the dead bracken – except for their white rumps which give them away. Sure enough, a set of magnificent antlers slowly rose from the ground and the outline of a large male deer appeared from nowhere against the bracken. I scanned further along the hillside to see a younger male visible in a patch already turning green with the coming spring.
Jura has a healthy population of red deer as they don’t have any natural predators. But when old or sick ones die they provide a feast for the local golden eagles who will scavenge the carcasses.
A group of common seals were hauled out on the shoreline, enjoying the refreshingly calm day after the days of constant high winds. They barely lifted their heads to acknowledge our presence as they rolled over to go back to sleep.
A rippling in the still water caught my eye as an otter popped its head out of the water and scrambled onto the shore to enjoy its catch. With each day I can sense a growing anticipation as the islands wait for spring to finally sweep through the waters and forests – and I can’t wait to be here when it does!
Until next week,