Thursday 28 May 2015

Speyside - Whose baby are you?

It's an upland moor, I'm hoping for Shorties when this little character comes wandering close to the car!

Best foot forward, this is dangerous territory for a young chick!

Dead easy ID for me given the calling going on nearby!

And the parent is.....

"Keep away from that blue car"!!

I come in peace..... More dangerous threats out there than than me!

I'd like to think they all lived happily ever after :-)

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Speyside - Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owls were virtually a daily encounter on Mull but yielded only very distant record shots. A location not too far from Grantown-on-Spey, parked on the roadside, produced a much closer display!

I could watch these all day!

Scouring the terrain for prey......

Taking a closer look?

Taking me by surprise crossing the road!

But flying much closer to the car!

A couple of flaps.....

And then gone.....

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Ythan estuary - King Eider part 3

This already amazing encounter with the King Eider was about to go up a gear as it settled down to feed! I'd watched the Eiders dive for mussels in deeper water here  before but here was a chance to see their feeding routine up close - with none other than the KING!

Here's some music to watch King Eider by - why not savour this old Squeeze classic (live!!) - how good are they!

This is a composite sequence, several mussels (and one or two cockles) were seriously hurt during the recording of these images

A bit of a toss to align the mussel.

Then cruuuunch!

There's not much nutrition in mussel shells so the best way to get rid of them is to hang onto the soft parts and vigorously rinse them away!

One gone!

And another.....

And just prove they eat cockles!

The rest of the day was spent walking the bank of the river Don in the vain hope of the Harlequin duck still lurking somewhere? It wasn't but I think the KE was adequate consolation......

Ythan estuary - King Eider part 2

When he wasn't displaying, the drake King Eider was simply looking stunning whatever the angle and I've tried to come up with some different aspects here!

I think I prefer the head on approach?

Mmmm yes?

Even better.....

Now we come to the tasty bit! What's that in his bill?

A lot more action to come.....

Ythan estuary - House Martin

A little light relief or natural interlude from King Eider images, House Martins collecting mud in the car park!

How many billfuls are needed to create that nest?

Is this my best side?

Nice to have a moment with a 'common' bird for a change :-)

Ythan estuary - King Eider part 1

Today was meant to be my appointment with the Don Harlequin but with no new coming out for nearly a week, I opted to make a date with the Ythan's favourite visitor!

Considering I was only there for just over the hour, this post will be split into two parks (sooooo many images to work through!) The King Eider wasn't simply 'there'  - as I walked down to the dropping tide at Inches point - it was almost at my feet!! OK I exaggerate but pretty close :-)

It had also taken a shine to the Eider females.....

Looking a little perky to start off with?

A quick wash and brush up!

And then full steam ahead to impress the laydeeez

I'm soooo good looking :-)

But I can be coy?

Simply irresistable?

I'm sexy and I know it!!

And when all the courtship was done, time to crack open a few mussels (coming soon)

Sunday 24 May 2015

Lochindorb - Red Grouse

I've photographed Red Grouse here on many occasions, always hoping for something 'different'?

The whiskey bottle motif pose is not the norm, they have evolved to stay hidden (to stay safe from aerial predators). The fact that there are precious few raptors here (most likely one is an Osprey!) makes no difference - this is a shooting estate where 'sporting gentlemen' pit their wits against such a difficult quarry in the name of enjoyment...

Will this small chick lead a long and prosperous life though? Get back into cover!

Twigs aplenty to spoil whatever pose I was after but I do like the ruffled plumage!

Presumably they know it's safe at this time of year, the (in)glorious kick of is a while away yet!

Maybe this was the only 'different' pose achieved, the pair almost snuggled up together :-)

The happy couple don't seem to be talking!

Enjoy the peace while it lasts......