Thursday, 29 December 2011

Favourites of the year...

I thought I'd round up this year with some of my favourite photos.

Back in April myself, Ciara Laverty , Rachael Laisney and Steven Williams embarked on a trip to Ardnamurchan, Britain's most Westerly point. Our two week expedition can be re-visited here. Here's a couple of my favourites.

This Pied Wagtail kept me company one afternoon whilst I waited in the hide, for the tide to retreat.

Pied Wagtail

Orange Moon

In May I went on a family holiday to Loch Maree, we stayed in a cottage near Poolewe, on the River Ewe, the Lochs seaward outlet. This was the first time we've stayed here, with only one previous visit to Gairloch when I was a lot younger. It didn't disappoint.

This was our view from the cottage.

River Ewe

River Ewe

Renowned for its Black Throated Divers, I was keen to see them, but never expected one to swim past the cottage.

Black Throated Diver

The nearby Ash, Birch, and Oak woodland held Wood Warbler, Redpoll and this Spotted Flycatcher, who visit the garden almost everyday.

Spotted Flycatcher

June saw me following the local Sparrowhawks. Although I follow this family every year, this was the first time I photographically followed them raising their young.

Sparrowhawk at its nest

Unfortunately this was the last image I took before heading off to the Isle of Mull. I'm hoping to follow the chicks to fledging this coming year.

Sparrowhawk with chicks

But before I did head off, I bumped into this Dipper, the first confirmation of breeding in the Dene for a good few years now.

Young Dipper

And this character in the large meadow at Holywell Pond, in full bloom thanks to the sheep.

Rabbit in the Meadow

On to Mull, with this pair of images, taken on my first day !

Cairns of Coll

Tawny Owl

Two weeks were spent on the Isle, volunteering with Sea Life Surveys and Ewan. A brilliant two weeks on an amazing Isle.


Oh and I made a mate at the chip van.

Herring Gull

The couple of weeks following found me at the RSPB's Loch of Strathbeg as a residential volunteer.

Warm Reflection

August I was back on patch. The subsidence and rainfall allowed for a perfect wader scrape to form, so I spent my time lying down.

Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper


Come October I found myself back at the Loch of Strathbeg, volunteering again but this time to produce a promotional film for the RSPB's Goosewatch events. More to come about this in the near future.

Pink-Footed Goose on the Dunes

The Living Mast

Pink-Footed Goose

The year rounded off with me when I visited the Desert Wheatear at Newbiggin.

Desert Wheatear

Wish you all a Happy New Year :)

Friday, 16 December 2011

Hanging around...

Headed home from Cumbria for Christmas on Tuesday evening, it seems that I have more deadlines through the holidays than I did when I was at Uni. Nothing to stop me getting out though.

Yesterday morning I headed up to Newbiggin in search of the Desert Wheatear which has thankfully stayed in the vicinity of Beacon Point for a while now,  I'd been hoping I would get the chance to see this beauty before it moved off.

Parking up at Church Point I headed North along the beach, calm flat sea and boiling sunshine made me question why I had wrapped up. Dunlin, Sanderling, Redshank, Turnstone, Curlew and Ringed Plover fed along the exposed sand and rock pools. I passed two birders heading the opposite direction, one informed me the bird was still present, and the other gave a polite grunt. On arrival a the point the bird was not to be seen, plenty Pied Wagtail and Rock Pipit, but no Wheatear.

Covering the whole point from both below and above the bank I still hadn't had a glimpse. It wasn't until I headed back South when I seen the bird feeding near to the tractor collecting coal dust. Finding a place to scramble down, I headed up to where I had last seen the bird. Scanning the bank I couldn't pick it up, but I knew it was there, so I sat in the sand. Almost immediately the bird appeared and began running towards me.

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

I also took some clips of this dapper little bloke, I've edited them into this longer clip, best viewed in HD.

Sunday, 11 December 2011


Just a few images from a weekend in Wales with the UOC Wildlife Photographer's Society, a bit wet and dull so played with black and whites.