Readers of this blog or followers on social media will be aware how much I love spending quality time with mountain hares. The setting is stunning (especially this year when coated in a thick blanket of snow) and it’s wonderful just to sit with a hare as time passes by – even when the hare does little more than twitch and do a half-hearted groom in 3 hours whilst we survive a blizzard and biting cold winds together!
Imagine my surprise therefore when I was told of a successful colony of water voles not on a riverbank, but in a small park in a fairly depressed area of Glasgow!
Photographing birds in my back garden has proved a challenge, but with a little perseverance and the help of my neighbour’s cherry tree I’ve been able to take a few images I’m pleased with.
Little did I know when I popped down to my local Glasgow park to try out my new Tamron 150-600mm lens in late June 2016 that I’d take my most popular photograph – a rabbit with feather in its mouth!
What a year! I’ve already written about the first 6 months, so I won’t repeat myself, but it’s fair to say that from a photographic/wildlife watching perspective 2017 has been brilliant. From the bucket list I’ve now landed on the Bass Rock amongst the gannets and photographed fishing ospreys – both unforgettable experiences. I’ve learnt a lot: photographic techniques, field craft and wildlife behaviours. My ambition for 2017 was to focus entirely (okay… so I did venture South of the border to the Farne Islands), on Scottish wildlife, learning as much as I could about a small number of locations and the animals living there. Personally I don’t want to be the kind of photographer who just ticks species off, I want to get to know them intimately and in doing so take better images that capture the essence of the animal I’m photographing. On top of all this I just love being out sharing airspace with these amazing creatures, it’s a real honour. If anything my love of wildlife, Scotland, the outdoors and photography has increased during 2017.
A wonderful week spent in the company of otters on the Isle of Mull.
A day spent in Alan McFadyen’s Scottish Photography sparrowhawk hide in the company of sparrowhawks, jays, red squirrels, brambling and great spotted woodpeckers.
Photographing fishing ospreys for the first time with a brand new (to me) Nikon D500 was a gamble – but one that paid off.
When it comes to red squirrels, achieving decent photographs without the liberal use of hazelnuts isn’t easy. I’ve tried a few times up in the Queen Elizabeth Forest near Aberfoyle, but have had limited results, so I decided to book a session in Neil McIntyre’s hide on the Rothiemurchas Estate.
They may be busy, but there’s some wonderful wildlife to see on The Farne Islands including puffins, guillemots, fulmars and razorbills.