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.









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.............













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.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Diving Osprey

I have just returned from one of the best Wildlife photography weekends I have ever had. The main focus of the weekend was my number one favourite....Ospreys. And by using different hides I was hoping to photograph diving Ospreys from different angles. Well it couldn't have worked out any better, the small lochan in Aviemore is the place for Ospreys, and over the course of two early morning sessions I must have had at least 15 dives.
The photo I have had in my head  for ages is an Osprey coming straight at the camera after surfacing with a fish...well I think I almost achieved my wish.
This series of images starts with the bird surfacing from his dive, gripping the fish before struggling to get up and away from the water, then flying across the loch straight at me, passing down my left.
I had watched this bird circle twice, diving twice and pulling out at the last second, the third time he was getting hassled by a more dominant older bird, but he fixed on his target, dived from at least 100 ft up, then the work started to lock on and try and stay with him as he left the water flying towards me.
A stunning beautiful bird, a real thrill to watch it happen, and even more relieved to catch it on camera.... see what you think.
There will be a few more posts yet...including an experience that ranks in my Top 3 wildlife encounters !!!















Monday, 6 July 2015

Ospreyitis !!!

One bird has dominated my thoughts these last few months, a bird that is without doubt my absolute favourite, the Osprey.
Ospreys are astonishing birds, despite looking so good, they are birds that are perfectly equipped for their existence, and their annual migration to western Africa and back is just amazing. Not only that they migrate thousands of miles and then return to the very same nest, and the same partner. Each spring it is fascinating watching and learning about the different birds returning to the various nests.
They are one of the conservation successes of recent times, recovering from just one breeding pair in Scotland in the 1960's, to hundreds of pairs now, not only in Scotland but now in northern England in the Lake District and Northumberland, to west Wales, and to another conservation success story their reintroduction at Rutland.
I have travelled a lot these last few months, 4 separate visits to Rutland, and the long drive to Aviemore in Scotland, with another Aviemore trip this coming weekend. And also hoping to fit in a trip down to west Wales and see the birds that are nesting on the Dyfi Estuary.
Below are a selection of my Osprey images from these trips....

post dive, getting a good grip of the fish

about to take off

lift off from the water with a nice trout

clearing the water

A beauty

off he goes back to the nest

female landing at the Loch of the Lowes nest

Blue XD complete with Satellite tracker leaves after a successful dive

Male leaving a nest

this nest is on a secluded Scottish Loch, with three chicks

another stick comes in to the nest

Blue 01 leaves with a nice trout from Ryhall near Rutland

giving me a stare as he flies above me

The nest in Manton Bay on Rutland Water

Manton Bay male.... Blue 33

Manton Bay female having a wash after feeding the chicks