Today is the day before our Really Wild Festival, and the staff here at the Scottish Dolphin Centre is buzzing with anticipation. I am very excited about the big event and am looking forward to seeing the place be flooded by visitors having a great day out. But we are not alone in being busy. In the past few weeks, spring truly arrived in Spey Bay and tinted the whole area in the brightest shades of green. Herbs are exploding from the ground everywhere and the trees woke up after the cold winter months sprouting fresh young leaves. The gorse bushes around the centre have been displaying their beautiful yellow flowers for a while now, usually swarmed by various bees, and are the favourite lookout spot for the yellowhammer. Some other early flowerers have been attracting all kinds of buzzing insects and the occasional bumblebee has to be rescued and escorted from the shop.
On a sunny day, butterflies are sunbathing on the warm stone steps in front of our office door and they can be observed fluttering playfully around the marsh area. Of course, the high abundance of insects is welcomed by lots of singing birds around the centre. I am expanding my bird-knowledge every week, with new residents arriving constantly from the south. Just a short time ago, the swallows have arrived and are now busy announcing their presence all day long chattering away on the telephone wires and flashing in and out of the small courtyard of our cottage.
This week I was lucky enough to see two wagtails courting on the grass of our shore watch hill dancing back and forth with their wings spread in a half circle. I didn’t have my camera close but you have to believe me that it was quite entertaining. Although, watching a wagtail walk around the grass is, by itself, usually already enough to make me smile.
Of course, when talking about birds and new arrivals in Spey Bay, I should not forget our biggest attraction, the osprey. They arrived in the beginning of April and can now be observed fishing in the river mouth daily, occasionally even more than one animal at once – always a majestic sight. One day, while we were strolling along the shingle beach in the evening, we watched an osprey trying his best to take off with a big fish during low tide. Unfortunately he had to give up after several attempts as he got more and more disturbed by bullying gulls, so he dropped the fish and left. As the water was shallow, we decided to track the fish down and see what the osprey caught. Well equipped with excellent wellies, I waded out into the sea and flicked the fish out to the shingles to take some pictures. We settled for sea trout and left it in the water for the next hungry creature to come along. Dinner is served! All in all, it was a proper adventure involving a majestic predator, a gang of bullies, a trip out to the sea and my first “caught” fish.
I am still waiting for the chance to see an otter here in Spey Bay, but the season is still young. Watching dolphins and seals every day is so amazing, I can wait a bit longer for my first otter adventure.
I guess I will now get ready for tomorrow, finishing some last preparations for the big event, crossing my fingers for sunshine and lots of dolphins and hoping to meet a lot of lovely people at the Really Wild Festival!