"I donít think we are
heading towards any meadow, Bruce," Bonnie, the butterfly, said to her
friend. "I think weíre near the sea now. Youíre not very good at
directions, are you?"
"I thought we were heading
inland. Youíre right. I can smell the sea. I imagine weíll see it in a few
minutes. Keep your eyes open for seagulls. Remember our Campbeltown
experience," Bruce reminded her.
"Iíll not forget that one
for a long time. Thereís the sea now. What is that giant rock sticking out
of the water?" she asked.
"Iím not sure, but I think
its Bass Rock."
"Bass Rock? It looks too
steep to have a river in it," Bonnie said.
"Why do you think there is
a river in it?"
"It must be called Bass
Rock because there is a river filled with bass, isnít it?" Bonnie
"Of course not. How could a
river be on an island that small?" Bruce chided.
"I wonder how big it is.
Itís very high," she said, flapping her wings.
"It looks to me to be about
450 feet or so," Bruce said.
"Are you just guessing?"
"No. I heard about this
island. It used to be a volcano. What I mean is it is leftover from being
a volcanic plug," Bruce struggled to explain to a confused-looking Bonnie.
"What is a volcanic plug,
may I ask?"
"It was the center of a
volcano. The rest of the land was washed away by the sea and this hard
rock is all that is left. Itís hardened molten rock. Itís rather
impressive, isnít it?" Bruce asked.
"It looks like there is a
lighthouse on it or some building," Bonnie said, flying around the island.
"Itís a lighthouse. There
have been lots of buildings on it. Once there was a chapel, but itís all
in ruin now. There were also other buildings and a prison. It would be
horrible place for a prison, donít you think?"
Bonnie looked at the cold,
windswept stone island. "I shudder to think of how cold it would have
been. Speaking of cold, letís land and rest. My wings are tired," Bonnie
The two butterflies landed
on top of the lighthouse. "Whatís that noise?" Bruce asked. They listened
carefully. "It sounds likeÖ..likeÖ.birdsÖ.lots of birds," he muttered.
"Birds? You mean weíve
landed on an island covered with birds. Bruce! Youíve gotten us into
another mess now. Iím too tired to fly back to the mainland. Weíll have to
hide and hope they donít spot us. What kinds of birds are here? Seagulls?"
"Worse," Bruce hesitated.
"Worse? What could be worse
than seagulls? Seagulls like to eat butterflies. There canít be anything
worse!" Bonnie stated.
"Gannets! Thatís what! And
there are puffins, but we donít have to worry about them. They only eat
fish and spend most of their time at sea."
"Thatís comforting. So we
only have to worry about thousands of gannets. Just great!" Bonnie whined.
She looked around. "I donít even see any flowers here."
"I doubt if there are many.
How could there be? The sea is rough and the wind blows and there are so
many birds. Letís go and see just how many birds there are," Bruce
"Are you crazy? Why would
we do that? Theyíll spot us," Bonnie argued.
"Come on. Weíll be
careful," and with that Bruce flew off from the top of the lighthouse
towards the top of Bass Rock. Bonnie had no choice but to follow. They
landed on a rock that jutted out of the cliff, just inches below the top.
"Iíll peek. You stay here," Bruce whispered. He flapped his wings just a
little bit and went up to the top. Right in front of him was a nest.
Inside the nest was a baby bird. When it saw Bruce, it squawked. "Shhhhhhhhh,"
Bruce told it. He flew onto the side of the nest. "Yikes!"
"What do you mean, YIKES?"
Bonnie called up to him.
"Yikes! There are thousands
and thousands of birds up here and all of them have nests filled with
chicks. Come and see this."
Hesitantly, Bonnie flew up
to the nest. "Yikes!" she said. The two butterflies stared at the mass of
white and gray feathers and beaks in front of them. The whole top of Bass
Rock was covered with them. The noise was nearly deafening too. The sides
of the Rock were covered with nests. There wasnít one inch of rock that
didnít have a bird or a nest on it. "If they saw us, weíd be fed to one of
these chicks," Bonnie said, looking at the scrawny baby bird in the nest.
"I think now is a good time to leave Bass Rock." She flew down to the
jutting rock. "Letís go, please. I donít want to be fed to a chick!"
"All right. I think it
might be wise if we do, but letís leave via the lighthouse way, not this
way," Bruce suggested. They flew down to the lighthouse. "This is going to
be tiring. Itís a long way for a butterfly to fly across the Firth of
Forth to the mainland."
"This time, Bruce, find us
a meadow. We know this is the sea and thatís not, so letís just keep
flying that direction until we hit a meadow. Iím tired, Iím hungry and
ready for a rest," Bonnie noted.
"I agree. Letís be off,"
Bruce said and the two flew away from the lighthouse. "Iíve never seen so
many birds," he said, trying to make conversation as they hovered above
the rough sea. "There must have been a hundred thousand gannets. Thatís a
lot of birds!"
"I canít help thinking
about the prisoners who were kept there, or the people who built the small
chapel there long ago. I wonder if there were birds there then? It must
have been pretty noise while they were trying to sleep," Bonnie smiled.
"Bass Rock. I think I heard
they used to keep sheep there too," Bruce said.
"Well, I didnít see any and
I donít know how there would be room. Ah, that meadow sounds really good
right now, doesnít it, Bruce?" Bonnie asked.
"It does at that. It does
at that," Bruce said. The two butterflies flew silently onwards, leaving
the squawking gannets behind them on Bass Rock.