Well Chough-ed

February 24, 2019 at 9:00 pm

RN2A0266Any visit to Islay would not be complete without time spent with their special member of the Crow family – the Chough.
Despite inclement weather and strong winds I was able to spend time with forty seven Chough at Ardnave Point. Supplementary feeding has helped juvenile birds to survive to adulthood but even with this help out of the flock of forty seven birds only nine remained from last years young and ten from the previous years birds. It is clear that without help the Chough would be in a very precarious position.
The very mild weather of late has also had its effect on Islay with Daffodils in flower everywhere and on one day a temperature of 17C was showing in the car! The next two weeks blog will feature many other photos taken during our visit.Click here

Jack Snipe At minus 8c

February 17, 2019 at 7:06 pm

RN2A9918All winter I have been waiting for some severe weather to have any chance of filming Jack Snipe. I have several bogs that don’t freeze up in severe frost and occasionally Jack Snipe will remain in situ if you approach cautiously. This happened last week when late one afternoon I spotted a Jack Snipe but there was too much vegetation in the way to obtain a photograph. As it was only one hour before darkness I took a gamble that it would still be in the same bog the following day and it was. It had moved only two feet overnight despite the temperature dropping to Minus 8C! This time it was more in the open and I was able to take my photos. In fact if you look closely you will see that its tail is covered in frost! It will probably be the only Jack Snipe I photograph this winter but what an illusive little wading bird they are.Click here

Snowy Owl

February 9, 2019 at 5:39 pm

RN2A9799Well not quite a true Snowy Owl but a Barn Owl hunting in the snow. When this winter started I never thought that I would be in a position to photograph local Barn Owls during the day let alone take photos of one hunting in the snow. Nothing is predictable in wildlife and you never know when they will revert back to nocturnal hunting and my photo opportunities are gone. More recent photos of the Barn Owls are shown in this weeks gallery.
When you are involved in wildlife all your life all sorts of unscripted events occur out of the blue as happened this week while I was waiting for a Barn Owl to appear. I had been sat in a hedge under a camouflage cloth for more than an hour when a brown bird arrived from my right and alighted by my foot. I gingerly looked down and was met by the stare of a Woodcock that flew off as quickly as it had arrived!! Click here

Snow At last

February 3, 2019 at 7:52 pm

Roe FeerThis winter we had our first snowfall on the 18th January making it the latest arrival date for more than fifty years. At long last we have had some classic sunny, frosty days and it was good to be out with the camera, some of the results of which are in this weeks gallery.Click here

Eclipse-Barn Owls

January 28, 2019 at 7:59 am

IMG_0068aThick cloud and mist negated any chance of seeing the eclipse of the moon last week so I have included, for this week’s blog and gallery, photos taken three to four years ago when we had the last one. Still only two years to the next one but over twenty years to the next Wolf Moon – an optimistic length of time to wait click here

Waxwings – At Last

January 20, 2019 at 8:28 pm

RN2A9749Last weekend I finally caught up with two Waxwings in Salford. The weather was foul and the birds were sub-adults but as they are my favourite birds I could not let another winter go by without seeing them.One is this weeks blog photo and just to remind you how good they can look I have put some more in the gallery from two years ago.Click here
In the last few weeks the mild winter weather has been good for Woodcock locally with one walk producing four birds.