Winter Workshops underway

January 2013 started mildly in the Highlands and we began to worry that our guests may miss out on snow (or more correctly leave the snowy south and come to the mild north!). However, with our first  groups arriving the weather changed and we have had some magical days in snow and ice. Plus the best possible reason to find a nice warm pub at the end of the day!

The highlights for the first group varied for them individually but included;

  • Photographing Red Deer in the Caledonian forest in a full on blizzard
  • Filling the frame with Ptarmigan and Snow Bunting in the snowy Cairngroms
  • The ultra confiding Mountain Hare that let us approach to 10 feet and then fell back to sleep!

With more folk arriving in the coming weeks we are looking forward to a fantastic sell out winter in 2013.

Ptarmigan-in-blizzard

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Life at the Top

I have no regret in every winter announcing that Ptarmigan are my favourite subject. There is something about the fact that whatever happens in life they will never come to you – there is no easy way to see them. You always have to go them; their environment, their altitude and most of all suffer their conditions.

This winter has been exceptional compared to recent years. Exceptionally mild, with little snow, but also exceptionally windy. So whilst the conditions at low levels and in the forests seem benign up on the tops access has been more unpleasant than in recent years.

Still we managed a 100% success rate with all three of our winter workshop groups getting up close and personal to these hardcore grouse. To be fair one group were stuck in the cloud base with the Ptarmigan. but not be put off all managed frame filling shots.

So having said how much I like them – well its the challenge in getting into their environment – here’s the reason I love them so much. They are just so rewarding. Spending time in their company and they accept you as part of their day and soon enough go about there business, which sometimes isn’t a lot, but there is something unbeatable about being on the tops just us and the Ptarmigan.

Winter Wildlife Photography Workshops in the Highlands, Scotland

Just a a quick heads up to let you know the dates are starting to fill for our winter workshops. We will aim to photograph a range of species in the stunning winter Cairngorms.

“Being an experienced photographer, my reasons for selecting this tour was the opportunity to photograph specific species. ebirder were excellent in their knowledge on how and where to get the opportunity to photograph these. Friendly, expert company, location, location, location, great accomodation.” Matt. Winter Workshop 2011

Last winter we photographed a range of species including;

Crested Tit, Ptarmigan, Snow Bunting, Long Tailed Duck, Mountain Hare, King Eider, Great Grey Shrike, Capercaillie, Golden Eagle (wild), Red Grouse and Red Deer. One lucky guest even managed a shot of Gyrfalcon an ultra rare visitor from the North (well done Peter!)

You can find out more about our winter tours by following this link

Out of the freezer – an update at last!

I woke up today and the sun is shining and the birds are singing, even the Long Tailed Duck we can see from the kitchen window are pairing up and it feels like spring is coming. Well its an aeon since we last updated; what with workshops, tours and research into our Spring programme it has been non-stop. We have our new and exciting Black Grouse workshop which has received good interest and we have even started the plans for next winter – watch this space.

Winter in the highlands is fabulous. Harsh, but fabulous. We have managed to all but one of our groups onto one of the true specialities of the region and one of my absolute favourite species – the Ptarmigan.

Winter white Ptarmigan are always worth the climb!

In the Strath our Crested Tit feeding station has delighted guests all winter and the addition of a few props has lightened the atmosphere even on the darkest winter days!

The snow makes for a busy feeding station

We have been working with Chris Sharratt and visiting his amazing Mountain Hare site. Feildcraft is one of the biggest things we help our clients improve and all have gone away with a truly memorable Hare raising experience (sorry!).

Spending time with these is one of the highlights of a day in the hills

In relict forests special creatures roam and one the highlights of the winter was an encounter with the horse of the forest – the Gaelic for Capercaillie. These incredible creatures are severely declining so to be able to see this impressive male on good form will live in the memory forever. Please visit saving the Capercaillie

Capercaillie in snow storm

The harsh weather brought unusual visitors out of their normal secretive habitats

A completely chance find - well done Jim!

I am sure we will be back in the groove of posting more often soon, and with our new blog you can now leave a comment too!