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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Ospreys....the last session

With a heavy heart earlier this month I left Aviemore after my last session of this Osprey season, photographing diving Ospreys at the little Lochan in Aviemore.
I had hoped for the last session I would be blessed with some lovely early morning light, but shortly after the 4am alarm call it became apparent it was to be another dreich Scottish morning. Nevertheless it was still a great morning, lots of Ospreys over the Loch, many of them younger birds following the adults to learn the fishing game.
The poor light meant all these images were shot at ISO 8000+, hence the quality, but it was just as thrilling to see the birds diving, catching the trout which will build their strength for their imminent migration to West Africa.

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

White Tailed Eagles

I have just returned from a magical week on the Isle of Mull, and one of the main reasons for the long journey up to this magical Island is to photograph the beautiful White Tailed Eagles. 

After a prolonged period of persecution during Victorian times, when large numbers of the areas birds of prey were shot for trophies, poisoned, or had their eggs stolen, the white tailed Eagle was finally exterminated as a British breeding species in  1916.

As a result of a successful re-introduction programme that took place on the neighbouring Inner Hebridean island of Rum between 1975-1985, the Isle of Mull has become a fortress of White-tailed eagle activity, as the new fledgling population of these impressive birds matures and expands.  

These are truly magnificent birds, that live up to their nickname of 'flying barn doors', with a 2.3 metre wingspan, they are amazing to watch soaring above you.
There is no better place on Mull to see them than out on the open sea, and the photographs below were taken on three trips out onto Loch Na Keal with Mull Charters.
The first series of photographs follows the sequence of an adult eagle soaring in and taking a fish off the surface and flying away...


 
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Saturday, 25 July 2015

Bottlenose Dolphins

During my recent trip up to Aviemore photographing Ospreys, I was really keen to get across to the Moray Firth to see the Bottlenose Dolphins that can be seen quite close from Chanonry Point.
Having been advised that the best time to see them was after Low Tide, we made sure we were there in plenty of time, as at this time of year it does get quite busy! It is a beautiful estuary the Moray Firth and despite the fresh wind blowing down the beach we settled down in the hope we would at least see some Dolphins.
Our visit coincided with the start of the Salmon run up the estuary and as soon as the tide turned and the Salmon started running up the estuary the Dolphins appeared and were gorging on fresh prime Scottish Salmon. An amazing spectacle to watch, the only disappointment was that I didn't get any shots of them breaching, they were far to busy feeding, but still great to watch.

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Sunday, 19 July 2015

It doesn't get any better than this......

Last weekend I will never forget, in particular Saturday afternoon.....why I hear you ask, well take a look at the images below and you will see why.............

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Ospreys are my all time absolute favourite bird, I have driven all over the country to watch them and photograph them, there is just something about this stunning bird that really gets to me. Every year they make the long migration from western Africa returning to the same nest and the same partner that they will have not seen all winter. On this return they have to reclaim their nest, fight off intruders looking for a territory and nest, wait for their partner to return, find a new one if they don't and then the whole breeding cycle begins. Watching these birds fish is an absolute thrill, see my last post. And then when they have raised their young, got them fledged, they migrate back to Africa late August to start all over again. Some Ospreys have been recorded are all still making that journey after 20+ years...just amazing.
Whilst I was up in Scotland last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit a private Estate in the Cairngorms that has a nesting pair of Ospreys. A nice big fresh trout is left out in the hope that the male will come down and feed. I cannot tell you what a thrill it was to be alone in a tiny hide 15 yards away from this stunning bird, sat watching it for twenty minutes happily feeding.... I am still working my way through the many photos I took, but periodically I just came away from the viewfinder to watch and marvel what was happening in front of me.