Tag Archives: Species

Handa Island – Seabirds in Trouble

 

Handa is an island that simply tugs you back. It has it all; a wonderful evocative sense of loneliness (no Skomer hoards here – although it is still possible to get a quiet spot if you walk in the opposite direction to the Wick); a chance to get close to the ‘pirates’ of the bird world; archaeology and ancient history and a landscape of low coastal reefs to seriously imposing 100 metre Torridonian sandstone cliffs. Read more…

Sheigra – To the end of what was possible

This was a place we found by simply driving to the end of what was possible. We’d been down all the small roads off the road north from Kinlochbervie; Oldshoremore, Droman, the wonderful Bagh a’ Phollain.

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Ring Ouzel and Wheatear

You sometimes get days when everything seems to be just right, I remember one at Firemore Sands some years ago when the dramatic weather played back drop to ten Black-throated Divers, Gannets diving in the bay, terns all around and surfing Red-breasted Mergansers. I had another one recently on our journeys around Scotland.

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Yellow Wagtail – Quotes

There are certain birds that simply push all the buttons; for many they may be birds of prey, Divers, (see post here) Puffins, Gannets, and perhaps the diminutive Goldcrest and Firecrest.

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Divers – Scotland 2018

A Star Speicies

One of the star species on any trip up to the north of Scotland must be the Divers. The small lochans around Lochinver can be productive for the Black-throated, whist the Red-throated can be virtually relied upon to be in Scourie Bay. It’s not uncommon to encounter up to four at the same time here. Read more…

Skye to Mull

The Cuillin at its best

Early morning at Carbost with the Cuillins as a sublime backdrop

Today was was a long sail; ten hours, with a lunch stop in Loch Scavaig,looking into the heart of the Cuillin. Read more…

Lochmaddy and Over the Sea to Skye

A Lesser-black-backed Gull takes a ride on the Kylebhan as we cross the Minch

A little hazy today, but the sea state was good and made for a calm crossing over the Minch to the north west coast of Skye. We made a course to Dunvegan Head and then closely followed the coast past Neist Point towards Macleod’s Maidens, an impressive group of three stacks off Idrigill head. A bit of fishing here, which bought us a good supper of Pollock and Mackerel.

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Raasay to Lochmaddy

Skye from Raasay

Again the weather was fine and we could cross the Minch to Lochmaddy and the Outer Hebrides, easily. It was flat calm all the way, but too late for a push to St.Kilda. We headed up the north east coast of Skye, past the impressive Mealt falls and Kilt Rock before heading west across the Minch.

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St.Kilda …. Another Year

Leaving Loch Nevis and Knoydart

Today was our last chance for St.Kilda. If we were going to make it we would need to be at Lochmaddy tonight. The Kylebhan would need eight hours from there to reach the archipelago, an overnight stop and eight hours back. We had wanted time on the island as well, at the very least a day. The weather had cleared but the wind was still south easterly, we could get pinned in Village Bay or worse pushed onto the shore. It wasn’t going to happen.

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St.Kilda …. Looking Doubtful

Leaving Canna for Knoydart

Our third day and not much progress towards St.Kilda but all enjoying the Inner Hebrides and the uncertainty of where we would be mooring the next night. This evening we found ourselves in one of the remotest places in Scotland, Inverie on Knoydart, only accessible by foot or boat.

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Canna ….. but St. Kilda?

Woke up to a very wet day on Rum. Wind speeds were up too out of the shelter of Kinloch Bay. No chance to make a push to Lochmaddy where we would be in a position to make an attempt to reach St. Kilda. If we were going to be sea sick this was the day. Winds pushing towards 5/6 on the Beaufort scale, we were rolled and buffeted but out on deck it was exhilarating.

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Destination St.Kilda

 

Kylebhan, home for the next week. Built in the 60’s as a fishing trawler

Just recently returned from five weeks up in the north of Scotland and experienced rain on only 5 days! Whilst we didn’t get anywhere near the contested 33 C recorded in Motherwell on the 28th June (thank goodness) we certainly struck lucky. Read more…

Golden Eagles on Mull

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My brother Phil had just come back from Mull and had told of a golden eagle eyrie very close to the single road that runs through Glen More. He’d also been lucky enough to see it take a live lamb off the hillside in front of the eyrie and return it to the then small eaglet sitting tight and out of sight in what had become known as the ‘smiling rock’, due to the shape of the crag under which the eyrie lay.

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Avocets, Godwits and Gulls at Marshside

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Simply a great place to be during this time of the year. Avocets, godwits, gulls and lots of squabbling – wish I lived closer!

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Mediterranean Gulls at Marshside

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The changing landscape of bird populations within Britain makes for interesting reading and Marshside, close to Southport, has seen some very interesting trends over the twenty or so years its been in the care of the RSPB.

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Red Kites at Llanddeusant

 

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I’ve been to Gigrin and Bwlch Nant yr Arian to photograph the red kites, but never to Llanddeusant. It’s a lot quieter than the other two, the sun’s behind you and the hides are very good for viewing but more importantly they’re excellent for photography.

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Llanridian Marsh, Gower

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A couple of speculative days down on the north coast of Gower, at Llanridian Marsh, brought some interesting birds and intriguing light. I decided to pick one spot and stay with it all day, not moving at all.

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Ruff at Martin Mere

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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.

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Islay geese : Black and White

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So here’s the set from the last post but in black and white, with a hint of selenium. Think I know which one I’m going with. The colour set can be seen here.

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Islay Again and the Geese

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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.

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