All pics on this post (c) 2010 David Ware
Lesser-Black Backed Gull
David Ware, one of my students, has just returned from a wildlife holiday to Scotland. The best photographic results are given above, whilst what follows below is a report of the trip in his own words: I had a really good trip to Scotland with 12 lifers seen - Raven, Red-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Manx Shearwater, Black Guillemot, Crested Tit, Hooded Crow, Osprey, Twite, and Hen Harrier! Overall, I saw 103 species in the 2 weeks - first week in and around Inverness, and the second week on Mull.
The weather was quite gloomy at times, which made some of the photography difficult, and other attempts all but impossible.
Photographing the eagles was brilliant. We came across a local skipper who had worked out that they would take mackerel from the sea loch surface if they came across them. The chap has an agreement with the RSPB that he should catch no more than 4 fish per trip, and only if the eagles are in the area, which they aren't very often. On the day we were there they were teaching their youngster how to "fish", so we had a visit from all three. The youngster didn't actually attempt a pass, but both mum and dad did. There is quite a size difference between them!
The Osprey was taken at Loch Garten with just a digital camera held up to one of the RSPB scopes. Not quite digiscoping, but on the same lines.
The fritillary was shot in Strathconan. Other butterflies included the Scotch Argus.
Mammals included: Red Squirrel, Red Deer (Stag, hind & fawn), Bottle-nosed Dolphins and Harbour Porpoise (both at Chananory Point near Inverness), and Otters. The latter were always a bit distant, but on one occasion we saw a dog Otter hunting, and then in 2 other locations we saw a mum with a single kit.
I didn't thnink I would get to see a Hen Harrier because the vole population had crashed. Apparently, they had 19 inches of ice on the freshwater lochs on Mull, but hardly any snow cover. Hence, there had only been one Short-eared Owl seen on the whole island, and the Hen Harriers were also in lower numbers than normal. It was not until our final evening that I eventually saw one.
I can't wait to go back!
If you like David's pictures, and would like to take pictures of your own in the area, I can heartily recommend the photography workshops run in the same area by Marcus Conway. You can read more about his Mull workshop here: www.ebirder.net/MullBirdPhotographyTour.aspx