The Chase

January 17, 2021 at 4:27 pm

During my nine visits to the High Arctic I have often been asked about the life and death encounter that I had with the Polar Bear. What has never been mentioned is that I had a close encounter with a Musk Ox bull in the North East Greenland National Park – the most stunning Arctic habitat I have ever seen.
In summer north east Greenland is blessed with constant high pressure and the sun never sets. I was lucky enough to join an expedition to Vega Sound for three weeks -moving around by Twin Otter plane, zodiacs and camping in constant sunlight. I was out exploring the tundra nine hours every day and in those days(2005) taking cine-film plus the occasional still photos with a G9 compact camera.
I had discovered a breeding pair of Great Northern Divers on a large lake when, suddenly a large bull Musk Ox appeared and headed straight for me. He was not amused so I retreated up the slope with him in pursuit. In today’s blog photo you can see the lake and how far he followed me before giving up. I found out later that Musk Ox have a terrific turn of speed over fifty yards and can then hyperventilate and die!! Luckily none of this happened and I managed to take a quick photo before returning to the lake to retrieve my cine camera!
This weeks gallery includes the few photos I took of a memorable trip.Click here

Fieldfare At Last

January 10, 2021 at 7:35 pm

It has taken until yesterday before I have seen my first Fieldfare of this winter. It would have been good to have had it feeding on apples in the garden but instead it was feeding on fallen fruit on our local motorway island!!
Not much I could do with it there! However, if you would like to see how impressive Fieldfares really are then have a look at this weeks gallery photos. These were taken three years ago, in perfect winter conditions, from a friends bedroom window of birds feeding at eye level on crab apples. What a treat!! click here

New Year Delights

January 3, 2021 at 8:22 pm

The New Year might have started foggy, frosty, snowy and dull but in the garden the birds rushed in to feed. We had an incredible 23 species feeding including this weeks blog photo off a juvenile male Sparrowhawk. He spent ten minutes waiting and watching but eventually he left empty handed. The other birds that fed included 14 Long Tailed Tits, 16 House Sparrows, 15 Starlings, 20 Goldfinches, 3 Bullfinches and 2 Reed Buntings. All came into a garden no more than seven metres square! click here

What A Year

December 27, 2020 at 7:58 pm

This year started for me with a  health problem and finished with a national health problem!!! Inbetween I was still able to take photos so now is the time to pick some of my favourites of the year.
A hunting Barn Owl, in winter sunlight, was a good start to the year only to be followed by lock-down! However, in May I was able to film Willow Tits which are now the most threatened woodland bird in Britain. A pair of Kingfishers followed and after hundreds of hours waiting I managed to capture on film the same hunting male Long Eared Owl as last year but this time with his ear tufts erected!
Autumn brought along two new birds for me in the form of Hoopoe and Wryneck. I found the colours and markings of the Wryneck amazing and this is my favourite bird photo of the year.The surprise of the year has to be the Otter with the Octopus and has to be a classic example of luck coming your way, if you put the time in!
Lets hope that we are able to return to Islay next summer, to continue work on Hen Harriers, and in the meantime  Good Luck and Good Health to my readers in 2021. Click here

It’s Your Choice

December 20, 2020 at 12:03 pm

A sail through the Arctic pack-ice, at midnight in search of Polar Bears, is on many peoples bucket list. This weeks photo of a female Polar Bear, suckling her young, was only photographed by me, although there were fifty three other people on the boat with me. The reason is quite simple – it was lunch-time!
I had joined a ten day expedition, sailing around Spitsbergen, looking for Polar Bears. We had been in the pack-ice for a week with only distant views of Polar Bears when, in perfect conditions, a female Polar Bear with two cubs came close to the boat. Everyone was taking lots of photos when, all of a sudden the ships tannoy announced that lunch was being served in the galley below! Within minutes I was on my own as everyone else disappeared below.It was then that the female Bear suckled her young in full view of me! What would you have done? click  for gallery photos https://www.facebook.com/gordonyateswildlife

Redwings And Haws

December 13, 2020 at 6:29 pm

There is no doubt that Hawthorne berries are a favourite winter food source for Redwings. During the last week the light has been appalling but I managed to find a small number of Redwings feeding on haws on one of the busiest roads leading into Manchester. They were disturbed by passing traffic every minute or so but despite parking on a double yellow line I managed to obtain this weeks gallery photos.Click Here