Author Archives Steph Cope

  • To people who work in outdoor jobs, boxes can be scary things. They are carried anxiously towards you, held at arm length to avoid jiggling the contents.  The faces bobbing above the box are filled with nervous excitement and concern – the mouth a pale “O” of part-formed accounts and explanations. Birds seem to cop […]

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  • Recently, I experienced a desire to know more about otters. For reasons unknown, their whiskery faces had bubbled up to a more prominent pool in my consciousness. Thumbing the instructions for a new trail cam and staring into the middle distance, I felt compelled to investigate. Encounters with these animals have an arbitrary quality. I […]

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  • The Bank Vole rotated slowly in its polythene bag. I wasn’t confident that I could catch it. As it regarded each member of our group through ink-drop eyes, I wondered darkly what it was capable of. Alicia – staff naturalist at the Aigas Field Centre – made it all look easy. She tipped the bag […]

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  • Perched among the manifold cushions of Sir John’s sofa, I wasn’t quite sure how I’d talked myself onto it. It was a most alarming situation. To my right, a stuffed Ptarmigan stared blankly out from a large bookcase. To my left, a well-doing Jack Russell [called either “Nip” or “Tuck”] met my glance with mute […]

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  • The autumn rut is my favourite seasonal event on Glengorm. I can categorically tell you that nothing else – and I mean nothing – will get me springing out of bed at 5:30am. Last year was the first occasion that I lead groups out to watch the stags; in all honestly, I was quite unlucky. […]

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  • Looking at enlarged images of moth genitalia might not strike you as a recipe for a great weekend. As a hobby, peering at moths’ bottoms enjoys limited appeal. Activities such as knitting are generally considered more popular and/or socially acceptable. However. Faced with a room of thirty delegates – some from as far away as Serbia […]

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  • I have a confession to make: I’ve gone off birds a bit. As a result, I risk being cast out from certain factions of our island community. I’ve fallen for a new order. How does it feel? Superb. Mull has around 10 species of resident Odonata, give or take. These include both the mighty Dragonflies, […]

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  • For the last couple of weeks, the sun has been shining on Glengorm. Now in my second year on the estate, I watch for our returning migrants with anticipation born from familiarity. For me, there is something reassuring about the seasonal rhythms of our natural world. Watching the same sequence of events unfold each year […]

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  • Many of us visit Mull to enjoy its magnificent wildlife. When we’re frantically scanning the horizon with binoculars, or peering owlishly at the kelp from our car window, it’s easy to overlook the quiet beauty of plants. Plants play it cool. They wouldn’t be seen dead talon-locking and tumbling out of the sky to win […]

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  • Walk out to An Sean Dun on a pleasant evening, and you will hear one of nature’s most evocative songs: that of the Eurasian Curlew. At first they whistle uncertainly among themselves, shuffling about over weedy rocks on the shore. The dark lines of their bills curve down like ribs. The brown chevrons on their […]

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(I use my own pagination)s