Friday, 29 May 2015

Braes Beach

While Ellie and Matt went on a boat trip from Elgol, we took Sadie and Meredith to a beach on a back road south of Portree.  It had sand and occasional showers.  Ann collected seaweed and shells to take home to make a mermaid.  We saw Dunlin, Ringed Plovers, a Sparrowhawk and a backlit Buzzard, but had only short lenses with us.  

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Windswept Day

Sadie and Meredith went riding for quite a long time, but seemed to have enjoyed it.  After lunch we drove past the Old Man of Storr in the rain.  Having dropped Ellie and girls back at the Lodge, I took my long lens out north of Uiginish and captured a battle between a Buzzard with a rabbit and a Lapwing.  

More from Colbost

Abandoned houses were not as frequent as in Eire, nor abandoned boats.  This is a better photo of the buzzard with the rabbit.  It didn't seem to know what to do - it landed several times and once soared up several thousand feet before returning to Colbost.  Perhaps it had a nest nearby.  The other bird is a Common Sandpiper.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Eagle-watching from Portree

We chose the less recommended 'Stardust' trip, paying £25 for the longer duration on a larger boat (a catamaran) and it proved well worth the money.  It stayed dry for the morning, and the birds were not too hungry to come down for fish.  I chose to use a 70-200mm lens with 1.4x converter in case these big birds were too close.  We went south around the Ben Tianavaig peninsula to see the first pair of birds, then across to Raasay for the second.  The skipper of the 'Brigadoon' (the recommended boat) played chicken with 'Stardust 2' - I was in the stern and could have almost touched 'Brigadoon' as she cut across our wake.  No love lost between the skippers, I was told in the pub afterwards.

Selected Eagle Pictures

The Sea Eagle is equipped with serious fish-catching and opening tools.  It flew in quite fast - even 10 f.p.s. did not always keep up with the action.   

Eagle Fishing Sequence

The Raasay eagles.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Wildlife Tour

On a showery Tuesday we went on a trip with Skye Wildlife Tours, led by Andy from Somerset.  There are 30 pairs of golden eagles on Skye, and we had seen not a feather of one.  Andy found us one perched on a cliff, and a return to a cliffside stop on the main A87 netted us a flying bird.  That was it, but I had seen my first UK golden eagle since I read about it in my Observer's Book of Birds back in the Fifties and was disappointed to learn that it was to be found only in Scotland.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Castle View

Our holiday house was Uiginish Lodge, across the loch from Dunvegan village.  We could see the castle (top) and next is the reverse view from the castle to the Lodge, with MacLeod's Table North in the background.  Ann, Sadie and Meredith are in the boat returning from a trip to the seals, with the Lodge behind.  The castle has been the seat of clan MacLeod for more than 800 years.  

Saturday, 23 May 2015

After two days driving, we arrived at Glenelg and photographed the gannets diving for fish.  Then we headed back round the loch via Eilean Donan Castle and photographed it from three sides.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Motocross Bikes

Wildtracks at Chippenham today.  Very noisy and dusty, but great entertainment. 

Friday, 15 May 2015

In An English Vineyard

Ann and I visited Chilford Hall Vineyard for a tour, a wine-tasting and lunch.  It was very interesting, the wine light and dry and the lunch filling.  The vines are just flowering and have yet to produce foliage.  Vats are German, the bottling machine Italian, (vintage 1972!) and the wines are blended.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Taking Terns

Terns move so fast and change direction so quickly that even top Canon autofocus fails to keep up.  When they hit the water they are in the same place for just long enough for the camera to focus.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Long Exposures

In daylight, even a 3-stop neutral density filter doesn't darken the exposure to more than 1/8th @ f/22, which is not enough to make the clouds streaky.  With a 10-stop filter, even 30 seconds, in the two lower photos, is hardly enough.