Simply a great place to be during this time of the year. Avocets, godwits, gulls and lots of squabbling – wish I lived closer!
Another recent wader encountered whilst out with the geese was the ruff. Five birds spent a good half hour picking up the swan feed towards dusk and it was interesting to note the very different stages of plumage from wintering adults to juvenile birds. It’s the leg colour that varies more than anything and is pretty well emphasised in these images.
Back to Islay and the geese. The aim was to place them in a wider context and I was fortunate that the weather was with me (seems like it’s not been very good since then). The mornings were superb and straight out of the van I was able to work with a perfect backdrop and the geese coming over the waters of Loch Indal. Trying to work them together is not such an easy task, focusing is all against you and the focusing spot had to be continually adjusted.
More to come from Islay later but I managed a few of days down on the Exe estuary last week, again in search of getting some images of geese, dark-bellied brent this time from arctic Russia, in the context of the estuary. It was also an opportunity to witness a spectacle that has to be one of the finest in Britain, the population of avocets that flock in large numbers to this part of the world during the winter.
Whilst I was waiting for my brother to pick up his passport from the Durham regional office back in the summer (I’ve a bit of catching up to do!) and listening to the Ashes on TMS, I noticed a common tern fishing by a weir on the Wear. We were due to visit the Cathedral later on and as per normal I carry the 50 -500mm with me at all times.
‘I’ll just leave it for you to see’ were Mike’s words as we were driving through South Shields towards Marsden. He’d mentioned nothing about Kittiwakes, a lift or a pub and as we drove into the car-park none of this trio were evident, but he’d said something about a grotto?