A Unique Photo.

June 28, 2010 at 12:39 am

Black Guillemotl

A final photo from Islay and one that may be unique. No bird book that I have ever seen shows a photograph of a Black Guillemot with its young. The reason is that they normally nest under boulders and out of reach of any cameras. This pair are unique and every year lay their eggs on an open edge allowing filming to take place.

Since returning home I have spent most of the week searching for Little Owls to film at the nest. Finally one hot afternoon it all came good and I managed to film young Little Owls being fed at the nest entrance before they fledged that night. There are other Little Owls out there but they take some finding and give nothing away as to where their nest sites are.

The weather this week has been phenomenal and I have spent four hours every day filming Kingfishers,waiting for their young to fledge from their nest tunnel. Did it happen? – see next week’s blog

Hen Harrier Stars

June 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Hen Harrier

A week on Islay filming Hen Harriers is about as good as it can get in Britain from a wildlife point of view. When you spend hours in a hide looking directly at a female hen Harrier relaxed on her nest you realise what a magnificent raptor she is and what a privilege it is to be licensed to do this. Long may it continue.

One evening we had a fabulous encounter with a Corncrake that would not stop calling and showed up very well. In the dry weather Skylarks have been dust bathing along the roads and providing some good film.

One day we encountered a party of Turnstones that looked really impressive in their Summer plumage.

During our travels around Islay we have had good views of Golden Eagles, Short Eared Owls, Little Terns and Black Guillemots. Butterflies and dragonflies are now in abundance on the sunny days. With Islay’s orchids now appearing in profusion.

Islay Break

June 7, 2010 at 2:14 am


As promised last week this week’s photo is of a Nuthatch leaving its nesting hole, which last year was a Green Woodpecker’s nesting hole. Nuthatches use mud to reduce the hole to their size as can be seen in the photo.

We have just had a week on Islay with plenty of sunshine and no rain. Short Eared Owls had four young in a nest in the heather and the male provided me with some good film as he returned to the nest carrying voles.

One morning we saw six different male Hen Harriers hunting but finding the females on their nests involves a great deal of time watching for a food pass.

There were still Sanderling migrating North and with the ash cloud over Iceland now gone they should have a clear flight to Greenland.

A large female Adder was found basking in the sunshine and proved to be very aggressive and noisy with much hissing. I kept well out of its reach!

Following on from the severe Winter most flowers are still two weeks later appearing than normal.