Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Gannets at Troop Head

Had a great time at Troop Head. This must be one of the most under-rated RSPB sites in the country! I feel it is better than Bempton Cliffs.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Ospreys & Chris Packham

Had a couple of days up North of Scotland, to try and catch some good sightings of Ospreys before they leave our shores again, back South to Africa. First visit was to the Loch of the Lowes. Here the birds had nested in a most beautiful setting, high in a Scots Pine tree over looking the Loch. The adult birds had raised two chicks who were just as big as their parents but were still unable to fish themselves and so just sat around waiting for Dad to bring them breakfast. I was told this would gradually decrease so as to force the juveniles to learn new fishing skills and fend for themselves.

Next stop was to Loch Garten. Here again, one can see the nest from the RSPB hide, but personally didnt find this place too appealing. Although walking in the woods and walking round Loch Garten did provide some good sighting, not only of ospreys flying over the loch, but a bird I had wanted to see, and apparently this area is the only place in the UK to see these little birds...the Crested Tit. I had seen them before in Spain, but never in the UK.

As I was walking back to the car, I bumped into Chris Packham who was with a small BBC film crew, making a new TV program about bird watching. Speaking with Chris, he explained that he had witnessed about 5 ospreys coming together in this special place to fish that very morning. Obviously I asked where he had been and he told me. The next morning I got out of my tent at 4:15am and headed to be in this fishing loch for 5am....and just as Chris said, the ospreys were looking for early morning breakfast.

Unfortuneatly it was a dull morning and as it was still quite dark, I couldn't take any photos initially, as it was just too dark, but I didnt mind as I just watched in wonder as these birds went about their business. I had never seen an osprey catch a fish before so I was amazed at witnessing such an incredible spectacle in nature!
Anyway, here are the photos I did manage to get. They were shot at very slow shutter speeds and with the highest ISO my camera offered, and at the widest aperture.
(f5.6; 1/200sec; ISO1600; Canon 400mm lens)and no tripod.