Going Dotty

My good friend Gary had wanted to see the Dotterel for years and we had arranged trips for the last two or three years. Unfortunately the weather has always beaten. Until this year. We headed up to the Cairngorms and after an anxious walk up we found a ‘trip’ of Dotterel quite easily and quickly too.

What happened next really stuck with me. Gary was so excited to see a Dotterel he couldn’t hold the camera steady – even on a tripod. This made me smile and also feel a tad envious. How fantastic to be that overwhelmed by seeing such a beautiful bird that it leads a grown man to go weak at the knees.

Needless yo say the excitement died down and in the end Gary retained his composure to get some fantastic shots. And of course the Dotterel are often tame and behave like they do and afforded some incredibly close views – sometimes too close.

Female Dotterel

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Back from Africa, off to Mull

Winter seems to be taking an age to clear the Highlands with most of April and the start of May dominated by strong winds and cooler temperatures.

Earlier I spent several weeks in Feb/March in Africa and hopefully will get to post some pictures shortly. For now we are preparing for our nature photography workshops on Mull which will keep us busy for the next three or four weeks. Fingers crossed that spring decides to turn up for our guests!

Topi at dawn

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

White Tailed Eagles on Mull – a tale of two tours

We’ve just returned from Mull after running our first tour focused exclusively on photographing White Tailed Eagle’s in Scotland. On the trip we were joined by four guests who were enjoyable company throughout – thanks to John, Angie, David and Pui Hang. In total we witnessed nine White Tailed Eagle dives (six on our private charters) and we also came across five Otters – a couple of which we were able to photograph at close quarters. I look forward to seeing their images when they are processed!

On Sunday it became clear that the weather was going to change with frequent Atlantic lows and strong Westerlies whipping through the island so we spoke with our prospective clients and chose to postpone the second scheduled trip. Not an easy decision to make, but we felt it best to be clear that the chances of getting the boat out and therefore photographing Eagles would be slim. We felt this was a better option that would avoid any disappointment. We look forward to seeing you on our next trip.

Many thanks to Martin and Judith (and Alex!) of Mull Charters who have just been awarded No 2 in World’s 10 great wildlife tours by Trip Adviser

If you would like to come please let us know you can see more about the planned tours on the ebirder website

 

New tour – bird photography holiday in the Outer Hebrides

Following several successful visits to the Outer Hebrides, we are delighted to announce a new tour to these special Islands including both North and South Uist and staying centrally in Benbecula.

The main target will be Corncrake;

Image

Our targets will include;

  • Short Eared Owl (in good years over 20 can be seen in one day)
  • Passage waders; Sanderling, Dunlin, Whimbrel and Ringed Plover
  • Breeding Waders; Redshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Lapwing and Golden Plover
  • Outside chance of Merlin, Golden Eagle and Hen Harrier
  • Red and Black Throated Diver
  • Otter and Red Deer
  • Various rare Orchids on the Machair
  • Weather permitting we will try and schedule a trip to the remote St Kilda

This trip will be in 2014 – as all our bird and wildlife photography tours and holidays sell out at least 6 months in advance be sure to reserve your place

Highland Garden – red letter day

With recent snows in the Highlands I was presented with a dilemma of where to go and what to shoot. However having tried to reduce my carbon footprint, as well as combat ever increasing fuel costs, I decided to stay local. Very local in fact – my garden.

Having spent the morning photographing Pied Wagtails, Linnet and Meadow Pipit in the and around the garden I popped inside for a nice warm brew. Almost immediately a most unexpected bird landed on one of our fenceposts. A quick look thought the binoculars (ever present on the kitchen table) and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Sat on the edge of our garden was a stunning male Merlin!

So I’ve decided to spend more time locally – within 2 miles in fact. Who knows what I will discover next?

If you would like to follow a microblog on our garden birds please feel free to join us on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/groups/277751905622959/

A strange addiction

For the past year or so I have been wondering why I keep photographing Red Grouse. I was looking into my key-wording and I must have nearly 2000 images of these smashing, but somewhat in my opinion comical, birds and so to the  other day when the light was bringing out the reds, pinks and oranges on the moor, I thought to myself I know I will go and check out some new habitat that looks good fro Grouse. It was then that I questioned myself and thought “why surely its time for something else”.

It wasn’t and off I went to get some more Red Grouse shots. What can I say? Maybe I just wanted my regular fix of quizzical grouse behaviour. Either way I took some shots and returned home happy. Sometimes its just that simple.