A Steep Learning Curve

July 15, 2018 at 12:01 pm

Kingfisher
In the last three weeks I have spent thirty seven hours in my hide at the nest-site of a pair of Kingfishers. Every session has been in unbroken sunshine and in forty five years of filming Kingfishers I have never seen such settled conditions. I have been waiting for the young to fledge and this weeks photo is of one of those young, just a couple of hours after leaving the tunnel. Instinct tells it to fish to survive but unfortunately that instinct has not yet kicked in and our bird plunged into the water and came out with a leaf!!
The gallery this week includes some of the photos from the last three weeks showing the adults diving and bringing fish for their young.Click here

Catch-Again

July 8, 2018 at 12:26 pm

Hen Harrier
My recent Hen Harrier food -pass photos have always been popular so this week I have included another series from our recent visit to Islay. The weather during our three weeks was fantastic with just one storm that produced high winds and half an inch of rain. This week’s gallery also includes photos of Black Guillemots, Golden Eagle, Roe Deer and Islays special butterfly the Marsh Fritillary.Click here

Corncrakes and Whiskey

July 1, 2018 at 3:59 pm

Corncrake
This weeks blog and gallery is dominated by one of Islay special birds, the Corncrake. Twenty years ago there were only eight calling birds and the future of the summer visitor looks bleak. Scottish Natural Heritage stepped in with various grant monies and brought this bird back from the brink to more than one hundred calling birds. Sadly these grants have now been withdrawn and the Corncrake is now in freefall with perhaps their numbers being halved this summer.
Ironically Islay’s big money-earner is its Whiskey and this success may now be working against the Corncrake. Previously many of Islay’s fields lay fallow in summer and proved good for Corncrakes. Now they are ploughed and sowed with Barley which is of little value to the Corncrakes. If this iconic bird is not to disappear completely it may once again need a helping hand.
This weeks gallery includes a selection of Islays birds including its Waders. Click here

Catch

June 23, 2018 at 8:34 pm

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This weeks photo is the result of weeks of preparation, a four hour wait for the male to bring prey and one perfect shot out of the ten taken in the next second. The other nine in the sequence are in this weeks gallery together with more of the spectacular Hen Harriers.
There is little doubt that one of the star attractions of Islay, at any time of the year, is seeing Hen Harriers flying over the road, sometimes crossing in front of your car.Islay is still one of the few places in Britain where Hen Harriers can breed without any persecution and only have to worry about the Hebridean weather. A cold spring results in many of their eggs failing to hatch and that is what has happened this year. Click here

Starlings Galore

June 17, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Starling
Famous for its Whiskey galore no one ever goes to Islay to photograph Starlings. However, wherever you go on Islay there are breeding Starlings – in the holiday cottages, in the deciduous woodlands and even in an old whiskey barrel! Once fledged the free flying young can be seen and heard all over the island and form an important food source for Hen Harriers and Peregrines. This week’s gallery is of a pair nesting in our cottage but for the real gems of Islay you will have to wait until next week – its well worth the wait!! Click here

Marsh Harrier Magic

June 10, 2018 at 8:39 pm

Marsh Harrier
After more than fifty years of photographing birds there are not many birds left on my “to do” list. one has always been the Marsh Harrier so last month I spent three consecutive mornings at Leighton Moss filming male Marsh Harriers as they gathered nesting material. It was a wonderful experience and took me back more than thirty years to the day I spent guarding the nest of the first pair ever to breed there. This week’s gallery is full of male Marsh Harrier photos and there is even a record shot of the food pass at a nest more than 400 yards away – it looks to be in the farmers field! Click here

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