No trip to south-west Scotland is complete without a visit to the Kite feeding station at Bellymack farm, Loch Ken.,It is nearly four years since my last visit and during that time a new viewing platform has been constructed together with a gift shop and cafe! Despite this commercialisation it has taken nothing from the sight of more than one hundred Kites in the air at once. Feeding takes place at 2.00pm and the drive from Manchester may take 3 hours so it could be considered an alternative to Gigrin farm in Wales. Click here
A lecture tour of Dumfries and Galloway last week provided a perfect opportunity to photograph the exceptional colours showing this Autumn. Even better, overnight one night three inches of snow fell making it a unique combination of Autumn and Winter rolled into one. I managed to visit Clatteringshaw Loch, Loch Ken and Loch Stroan enhanced by five degrees of early morning frost.
One of the wildlife highlights was watching more than one hundred Red Kites being fed at the end of the day by Loch Ken. – photos of these next week. The strangest sight was a leucitic Oyster Catcher feeding on the shore at Stranraer. Apparently this same bird has been returning to Stranraer in Winter for the last eight years.
For the birdwatcher two of the main attractions of Islay in Autumn are the Geese and the Chough. From mid October more than thirty thousand Barnacle Geese arrive from Greenland. After feeding in the fields during the day they descend onto the estuary for the night and provide one of the greatest bird spectacles in Europe.
During last weeks visit I was able to catch up with Chough feeding in the Machair and also a Bar Tailed Godwit, a species I had never filmed in close-up before. Click here
Having gone to Chanory Point near Inverness especially for Dolphins and failed to obtain any jumping shots it was an absolute bonus last week when we were on Islay to succeed. Not only did we have eight passing Dolphins one jumped in the perfect spot with the lighthouse in the background.
Autumn on Islay is always special and last week was better than ever. Four days of high tides produced good feeding conditions for Otters and we had sightings of ten Otters during that time. One female came out of the sea with a fish for its young and all this was captured on film.
Redwings and Fieldfares were everywhere and these were continually chased by Icelandic Merlin. There were two colourful sunrises and only one day of rain which was better than what we normally see in Autumn. The Geese and Chough are always a spectacle on Islay and photos of these have been saved for next weeks blog. Click here