Monday, 24 August 2009

Fair Isle 2009


Due to a cancellation, Shetland Wildlife has one space for a single traveller on their Fair Isle Autumn Migration holiday running from 10 - 17 October 2009. Please refer to the 2010 departures here for further information, day-to-day itinerary and prices.

White's Thrush - now almost annual in Shetland during autumn. See the best birds with the best birders - organised for you by Shetland's number one wildlife holiday company!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Green Sandpiper

Continuing the wader theme, this Green Sandpiper was reasonably confiding - unlike the weather today...

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Wader Fest & Risso's Dolphins

Two great days of wader photography meant that I finally got the remaining images for the Dunlin and Sanderling plates finished. Two very variable species that certainly required a lot of time (over a year!) to do justice. I also wanted to try and capture the Sanderlings 'airborne' in their typical hurried running pose. Freezing them was not easy and required a shutter speeds in excess of 1/4000 sec. Making use of bright ambient 'slave' light like white sand helped enormously, as did the high ISO capabilities of the 1D Mark III. Its hard to think how I could have managed this ten years ago!

Having waders so close also gave some good opportunities for sound recording - one I was happy to get was a Wood Sandpiper at Boddam - which proved impossible to stalk for photographs as it kept company with restless Redshanks.

Wood Sandpiper





One week on from the Humpback saw me adding another cetacean species to the garden and patch list - a pod of Risso's Dolphins were in the bay in front of the house for an hour in the evening.

Thursday, 20 August 2009


After a pretty grey day the sun finally came out this evening so I made some sound recordings and images of Sanderlings:

Monday, 17 August 2009

Destination Varanger

I am delighted to have been commissioned as the principal wildlife photographer for the 2009 Destination Varanger brochure - the essential reference for visitors to this beautful northern outpost of Arctic Norway.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Ringed Plovers

There was no sign of the Humpback off Maywick this morning, so I spent time recording Ringed Plovers in the south Mainland. Some of the birds seemed to be holding mini feeding territories and the "dweela dweela" notes in the following recording were recorded as one bird chased another from its 'patch'.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Back home & Humpback from the garden!

We arrived back home in Shetland this morning after a great few days based on the west coast of mainland Scotland. Lots of wildlife and lots of great ideas thrashed out for the future...

Nice to see a non-wing-tagged White-tailed Eagle...

With a weather window of calm weather, I got straight back to work this afternoon and recorded a few more waders:




On both legs of the ferry journey to and from Aberdeen, I failed to see a single cetacean. That disappointment was soon put to one side when a HUMPBACK WHALE appeared in the bay right in front of our house during the evening! We had amazing views of this 40 - 45ft animal several times from the garden as it lunged through the water and went into long dives. By the time I had grabbed my cameras and got set up on the cliffs, the animal was well to the north and was surfacing very infrequently (every 20 minutes or so). An amazing sight, and it takes pride of place on the garden sea mammal list - with Killer Whale, Minke Whale and Harbour Porpoise as runners up!

Friday, 14 August 2009

The new-look Scottish Birds

I am delighted to take up the post of Photographic Consultant to Scottish Birds - the new-look journal of the Scottish Ornithologist's Club. For more information about the work of the SOC, click here and for details of how to become a member, click here

Sunday, 9 August 2009


Spent the morning recording some very vocal Turnstones in the south Mainland:

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

BBBPY 2009 - Results

King Eiders off Vardo, Norway by Hugh Harrop - 12th place in BBBPY 2009.
Canon EOS-1D Mark III with EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM +1.4x converter.

Delighted to see the results of the Bird Photograph of the Year competition published in the August edition of British Birds. I managed 12th place with the above image and this is the fifth consecutive year that I have been short listed - I came third in 2006 and fifth in 2007. My congratulations to the winner, Kit Day for his great shot of Glaucous Gulls.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Juvenile Arctic Terns

Arctic Terns have, at long last, had a fantastic breeding season here in Shetland. Hundreds of birds were gathered on the beaches near Sandness today and allowed some nice opportunities to study and photograph birds of different ages and stages of juvenile plumage.