Sunday, 21 December 2014

That was 2014.....

Another year draws to a close, but this one has been a real special one for a few reasons.
This was the year that I took the financial plunge and stepped into the Prime lens league, a new Nikon 500mm F4 and 300mm F4, a new D800 body to join the D3, and boy have I been pleased with them.
There have been lots of highlights, many you will see on the Slideshow that I have put together.
2014 Review

But the two that really stand out are the Aviemore Ospreys and the White Tailed Eagles of Mull.

Ospreys are without doubt my favorite bird, everything about them just fascinates me, after a long fight for survival in the UK they are now starting to gain a real foothold again. Every year they make the long migration from their winter home in western Africa to come and breed in the UK, mostly meeting up with their mates whom they won't have seen since they left at the end of the last breeding season.
Amazing beautiful birds that I had the good fortune to watch them down on the Dyfi estuary in West Wales, and up in Scotland at Loch Insh, and also at Rothiemurchas near Aviemore, where I waited 4 hours for this one single chance to get my long waited image of an Osprey fishing. I was blown away by the whole experience, chufted to bits that I got the shot, but more than anything I can't wait until these stunning birds return next Spring.



In late summer we traveled up to the Isle of Mull, with the hope of photographing White Tailed Eagles and Otters. Despite lots of searching we never saw Otters but the White Tailed Eagles were just amazing. We watched from distance a pair high in the conifers next to Loch Na Kiel, spending many hours watching them up in the trees and hunting down on the water line. But the real jaw dropping experience was when we took the Mull Charters boat, and what a morning it was. Both Male and female came down to feed, the female especially circling the boat time and time again, it got to the point were I just put the camera down and watched these stunning birds, and yes they do match their nickname...flying barn doors. Again already excited about getting back up there next year.






Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Hilbre Island

Hilbre Island is a place that I have not visited since I was a kid, located on the mouth of the Dee Estuary, it takes less than an hour to walk out to the Islands at low tide. So on Monday we had a lovely walk over, leaving at 9.45 the tide was already out beyond the islands and with low tide at 12.30 we had plenty of time on the Island. Walking to the northern tip its a great place to see and watch the bird life below on the rocky shore line or to sea watch. Lots of bird life about including Brent Geese, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Turnstone, a variety of Gulls, Shag, Cormorant, Curlew and Seals.





Whilst sat watching the birds, we were intrigued by the behaviour of the gulls, they were picking up various molluscs, looked like Mussels, flying up to about 30ft high then dropping them to smash them open on the rocks below, really clever and something I have only ever see Corvids do.