Otter and Conger Eel

July 26, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Otter Mull
Having spent nearly fifty years filming wildlife there are bound to be occasions when something happens whilst you are filming that you are quite sure can never be surpassed. One such event occurred on Jura some years ago when an Otter brought an Octopus out of the sea in full view of my camera. As it bit into the Octopus a cloud of black ink was released and covered the Otter! I felt quite sure that if I filmed Otters for another fifty years no event would ever surpass that. I was wrong!

On Mull last week I was hidden amongst boulders watching a female Otter and her fully grown young fishing. Normally,if you are lucky, when she catches a large crab she will swim ashore to share it with her offspring This is what you are waiting for and eventually she began to make her way to shore with a large item of prey. As she emerged from the seaweed she was clutching a four foot Conger Eel! The eel was wriggling about and her jaws were closed behind its head as she struggled to pull it through the seaweed. This weeks gallery shows the series of photos I managed to take during this epic struggle. It now begs the question can this event ever be surpassed? Click here

Mull Re-Visited

July 19, 2015 at 7:32 pm

Sea Eagle 15
After last years visit to Mull especially to film Sea Eagles we decided to return this year for a less intense filming week. Along with other Hebridean islands this year the cold spring has had an adverse effect on the breeding Eagles with the Golden Eagles having almost failed completely. Fortunately the Sea Eagles have not been as badly affected and todays gallery includes some of the photos I took from two sailings on the “Eagle” boat. At one point we had four juvenile Sea Eagles in the air together high over the boat.

With it being a late Spring Mull’s flowers were at their best and during the week we identified ninety five species. Included in these were Greater and Lesser Butterfly Orchids, masses of Flagrant Orchids and two Small White Orchids. Unfortunately July also means that Mull is covered in high Bracken which makes searching for Otters along the coast very difficult. Having said that we did manage to find nine Otters during the week. I have always maintained that if you put the time in you are entitled to some luck and that is what happened whilst I was watching a female Otter and her young. All of a sudden she swam to the shore and proceeded to pull out of the sea a four foot long Conger Eel! Photos to follow in next weeks blog and gallery. Click here for Eagle photos

Whitethroats and Summer Flowers

July 9, 2015 at 9:07 pm

With the extremely warm weather of last week flowers have produced rapid growth enabling Whitethroats to finally get down to nesting. Most of my local Whitethroats build their nests around the stalks of such plants as Rosebay Willow Herb and various umbellicas and only now are they able to do this. In the last few days four local pairs have been active and the males have provided me with plenty of film as they sang from the tops of the foxgloves. I watched one male building a cock’s nest and he even sang from the nest-cup as he tried to attract a female. Click here

Filming Satisfaction

July 5, 2015 at 8:04 pm

Long Eared Owl
At long last after years and years sat out on the Pennine moors at dusk I finally have some acceptable photos of a male Long Eared Owl hunting. There are so many variables that come into play before success is achieved. Firstly it has to be a good year for voles so that the Owls will breed. Secondly, the weather the night before you go has to be wet and windy so the males hunting success that night was poor. As a result the young will be hungry and call for food this forcing the male Long Eared Owl to start hunting early. Thirdly it has to be a sunny evening so that you can achieve good readings on your camera (you will need 2000th of a second as a minimum). Fourthly, the wind direction has to be right as the male always hunts into the wind. Finally all these conditions usually mean that it is a pleasant evening for hill walking so disturbance from the public is always a problem. Two nights after my successful photo session I returned on another perfect evening and in two hours hidden under a camouflage cloth I never saw an Owl. I did, however, encounter five riders on horseback, five mountain bikers and twenty four walkers. All passed me by within thirty yards and never knew I was there.!! Click here