Friday, 29 August 2008

TW3: 23 - 30 August

A great week of weather had me working with waders once again. Two clients hired me to give them a crash course in flight photography and once I had worked out the best tides and the best lighting positions we set off at stupid o'clock to the West Mainland. My cunning plan (ok, gamble) paid off. Here we were greeted by hordes of Sanderlings, Turnstones, Purple Sandpiper and Dunlin which fed at our feet and thus we spent four hours nailing some lovely flight and feeding shots. If only we could have light like this every day! I might add that all the flight images were taken hand held, just showing the capabilities of working with the high-end Canon system. Note: Canon reps - that's a hint for a few grand off my order for your new 800mm 5.6 lens. I also managed to get some pleasing images of a party of 3 Black-tailed Godwits down at Virkie which were happily bathing right in front of my van.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Not Two-barred a scoop..

There are about to be whole lot more published but here's one published at the end of August in Bird Watching:

Thursday, 21 August 2008

TW3: 16 - 23 August

Another really busy week split between the office and field. The easterly winds didn't really produce the diversity of migrants I was hoping for, so waders were given lots of attention given the favourable tides down at Virkie and Scatness. Bird of the week goes to the Booted Warbler found on Wednesday evening at Sumburgh Farm. Unlike most Booteds I have seen, it proved extremely elusive for much of the time but having a) got up at the crack of dawn to be the first there and b) worked out its circuit and its favoured haunts, I waited and waited and finally got some nice shots. Very many thanks to Jim Irvine of Sumburgh Farm for letting me wander so freely across his land in order to take these pictures.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

TW3: 9 - 16 August

Phew, what a week. Instead of attending the BB Bird Photograph of the Year awards ceremony (where I dipped on a free glass of champers) at the Rutland Bird Fair, I decided to stay home and boy, am I glad I did. The first part of the week involved me walking miles and miles for a total of 20 hours over three days trying to photograph the male Two-barred Crossbills at Sumburgh. It seems as though more people have missed the males than had actually seen them and I was resigning myself to being a member of this gang. However, a voice in my head kept telling me I would find one and after three days of stomping around in ridiculously warm, sunny and very unconventional Shetland weather, I did. And what a bird it proved to be. For two hours I enjoyed point blank views of a stunning male and two juveniles - but had to clamber half way down a cliff to do so. Awesome.

But not nearly as awesome as the events of Friday which had me running around like a headless chicken when I was woken by a call from Gulberwick to say "Killers in the Bay". Shower, coffee, kiss wife and daughter and avoid the police for 20 minutes of high speed driving to get there, only to be told they had gone south. Turn around, head to Quarff and leg it out to the rocks. Within 10 minutes I was photographing a pod of 4 Killers down to a couple of metres as they hunted seals right in front of me. A 70 - 200mm lens was almost to large! On examining the photos, one of the animals was immediately recognisable by the scarring on its left saddle and it was thus very much a case of déjà vu as this was a pod I photographed several times during the glorious summer of 2006 doing pretty much the same thing - hunting seals incredibly close to shore.

Here is the animal in question and note the labelling of the scars to get a complete 'match':

For the next three hours I followed them south along the coast and to put the icing on the cake, Tom Jamieson took myself, Michelle, our little Cerys (only two and now her third encounter with Orcas) and a few other snappers out on his boat where we scored with some great images as they animals came through Mousa Sound. Amazing stuff! I ended of the week doing a few waders, trying to capture Sanderlings feeding with my new 'ground' pod.

So all in all a great week, marred only by the news that the 9 to 5 eco-suits at SNH didn't bother to tell anybody about a nice pod of White-sided Dolphins which spent a day in the North Mainland. Maybe we should call them uncivil servants...