Young Raptors

January 29, 2023 at 8:28 pm

Looking back on last year it was a very good year for finding the young of Owls and Raptors. It is always a privilege to examine the nests of Hen Harriers so this weeks blog photo is of four healthy young in a moorland site. Other young this week include Little Owl, Short Eared Owl, Long Eared Owl and Kestrels.

The Assassin

January 15, 2023 at 7:11 pm

Each winter we acquire a Sparrowhawk that hunts all the birds that come to feed in our garden. Last year he was a superbly marked male and it looks like he has come back this winter, even though this weeks photos were taken through double glazing!
It is a well know fact that Sparrowhawks are attracted to colourful birds as prey and our male is no exception. He caught our best male Greenfinch and provided me with a dramatic photo – so dramatic and bloodthirsty that I have been banned from using it!!!

2022 Favourites

January 9, 2023 at 5:40 am

It is now time to show my favourite photos from last year which turned out to be a pretty good year photographically – so good that instead of the top ten there are twelve in the gallery as I did not know which two to discard! Three visits to Islay produced Red Deer stags, a Whinchat with a Tiger moth and of course Hen Harriers. North Wales produced a cracking pair of Crossbills and a head portrait of my first river Otter. It was a good year in the Pennines for both Short Eared and Long Eared Owls. I also managed to film a pair of Black Necked Grebes, with a young on its back, and a Great White Egret on a local lake.After a gap of three years it was a welcome return to the Highlands for more fishing Ospreys. The final triumph came in last Decembers frost when I came across the most photogenic Jack Snipe ever-you can even see the iridescent purple feathers down its back!
If last year was good then the prospects for 2023 are not so good. Our visits to Islay are being reduced to one instead of three or four – due entirely to Calmac ferries leaving us high and dry twice last year by cancelling the ferries. Its a sad reflection on the state of the ferries after 117 largely trouble free visits over 47 years.
Secondly, I now have several health problems that mean I can no longer walk the hills like I used to. As a result I can no longer obtain the quality photos for the blog so I propose to reduce its production from weekly to perhaps fortnightly.A sad consequence of events, after more than fifteen years, but I would not wish the standard of photos to diminish.

Hide And Seek

January 1, 2023 at 5:05 pm

A happy new year to all our readers with this weeks blog photo of one of my hides in a neighbours garden last month.This is what a proper hide should look like and I always have a good laugh at the hides that some of our television experts use – they would blow away in a force3 Hebridean wind!!!
I have spent thousands of hours in my hides over the last 44years and have filmed the nests of such mouthwatering subjects as Golden Eagle, Peregrine, Hen Harrier(62pairs!), Merlin, Gyr Falcon, Great Northern Diver, Short Eared and Long Eared Owls and best of all Snowy Owls in Alaska!!
Last months garden subject was a male Bullfinch eating pink Rowan berries – an easy subject compared to the other birds listed but just as enjoyable.