March 16 2018
Isabella here from the high hills of Scotland where we’ve been stranded with snow and ice like much of the rest of the country this winter. This will be a short journal – but I think a very significant one.
I’d had no expectation in this weather to see or hear anything of the local Bigfoot clan, suspecting that, like the rest of us they’d be holed-up somewhere trying to stay warm. The fence that was torn down, rolled into a ball, and set up as an obstacle for cars on the lane was replaced – and has stayed in place – since the Autumn. I don’t know if that signifies the clan’s acceptance of a force that they’d rather not oppose since the landowner has come back with a strong message. I’m not sure if they’ve declared a truce, or if there’s been no particular reason for them to pull it down again. The Alpha can easily step over from what I saw of him and the fence poses no real barrier for his purposes. It may have been the younger ones struggling and that was the cause of this temper tantrum last summer when game was abundant but barbed wire stood in the way of teaching their off-spring to hunt on a clear path from highland lochs to the river. In any case, since the fence remained in place, my certainty that they’d moved on for the Winter grew and I’d stopped listening for them before Christmas.
Uncharacteristically, however, and despite the wild weather, they stayed on this year. As mentioned in my last report, they gathered near the cottage to comment on a nearby estate’s private fireworks at the New Year, exclaiming about the explosion of noise and bright lights with the typical blizzard of phony owl calls that gives them away.
Their vocalising through the night during the Supermoon surprised me too — and maybe a lot of other people in the area. The clan passed by with a booming chorus of hoots — I suppose on the way to the river to fish with the aid of a massive natural spotlight. This marked the first time I’d heard their natural voices as they dropped the obvious owl disguise and let-loose with what I imagined to be sheer glee at the abundant moonlight, perhaps bringing a special energy to their night wandering.
And then on came the storms of February and March — feet of snow and sleet — ice on the track that was sometimes inches thick. Now they’ll retreat I said to myself. I felt certain of it. But, even now, the Alpha has once more made himself known. Very uncharacteristic and even disturbing in this bare landscape that offers no shelter or hiding place.
Several weeks ago I returned home from town at night, parked the car and headed for the door when some odd type of “night bird” began to sing from the forest next to the cottage. It was a sound like nothing I’ve ever heard, melodious and trilling like a nightingale, but strangely intense. Intrigued, I stopped and listened as the sound grew louder and the melody expanded in its complexity until I realised this was no bird, but some kind of Alpha communication. The timbre was gradually more deep-throated and broad; the volume beyond the capacity of anything with feathers. The song, I feel certain, was a personal one; one that belonged to this particular creature and his experience of the wild. I unlocked the door and went inside, not sure what he would make of me listening with such interest. As much as I appreciate his right to live here I’m wary of the boundaries that should exist for my safety – and his.
Inside the cottage I opened the windows, wondering if the song would continue. Silence. The sound from the forest had stopped. That the singing commenced and ended with my appearance in the garden convinced me that the concert was meant for me to hear and nothing else.
Why he’s singing I have no idea. And I’ll admit to being a bit concerned for several reasons. The forest isn’t safe so close into civilisation this time of year, provides no cover for the clan to pass through and especially not the massive males of the species. In the snow they’re likely to leave footprints and who knows where that would lead. I suppose the Alpha knows all of this and his attraction to the cottage regardless is a worry. What’s his message? As it’s the dead of winter in this part of the world and nothing to do with spring sap rising, I’m avoiding interpreting his song as a Bigfoot “crush” and supposing that the melody is one of friendship – or loneliness? Or just being jovial and wanting to say hello? Maybe others in habituation scenarios could contribute their ideas on the meaning of his song and an appropriate response, or whether I should take notice at all.
Another recent development contributes to my worry that our Alpha shouldn’t be so close to civilisation at this stark time of year. Twice this week I’ve heard gunfire after midnight, on and on. Who fires repeatedly into the darkness? To my way of thinking, only people who are very afraid. Or people aiming high-powered rifles with heat-seeking scopes trained on targets larger than any man.
So Deb, life in the high hills of Scotland has taken a new turn; another chapter in this habituation that leaves many more questions than answers. What is the Alpha’s point in staying on and trying to communicate? And what’s all the recent shooting about? Does that relate to his insistence on staying close by? It’s a worrying time and one when I wish I knew a lot more about these creatures than I do. I’m inviting anybody with experience in habituation or serious research background in Bigfoot behaviour to please chime in with their thoughts.
Wishing all in the UK a safe weekend as this apparently promises to be another “doozie.” Take good care and bye for now,