Scotland Trip part 1

29th August 2013
At the beginning of July I took a trip to Scotland with my good friend Paul and our target species were the Osprey's, so we booked a 2 day session in the Rothiemurchus Osprey hides in Aviemore.
The hide sessions were booked for the Wednesday and Thursday, so we decided to travel up via the Farne Islands on the Monday, stay the night in a small harbour town called Dunbar, then carry on up to Aviemore on the Tuesday.

Stopping off at the Farne Islands on the Monday gave me the chance to get some more Puffin shots with hopefully Sand-eels in their bills this time. Arriving first thing in the morning, we got some tickets for the all day island cruise so that this would give us enough time to visit both islands and hopefully get the images we were after.
As we all know, the weather during July had been amazing with bright sunshine and blistering temperatures day after day but unfortunately on this morning, the sea mist had decided to roll in and visibility was poor. Boarding the boat, I checked the weather app on my phone and it was showing sunny spells for the afternoon so all was not lost.

Firstly, the boat took us around the islands to view all the sea birds nesting on the cliff faces and to view some of the Grey Seals that breed on the island. I wished I had got my camera out earlier for the Grey Seals to be honest but the boat was rammed and I couldn't be bothered to jostle for position so in the end I grabbed a few shots over people's shoulders..





After the Seal tour, we landed on the outer island and we had a few hours before being picked up and taken to the inner island, so I made my way over to the nesting birds to try and get a few images. The sea fog was still pretty thick and the light was flat as a pancake, which was a shame as I wanted images of the Shags but you really need the light on these birds to show off their amazing iridescent colours.

Shag...







I then moved closer to the boat landing area where there was plenty of Puffins and Guillemots on the rocks and cliffs, plus it was less distance to walk when the boat came back to pick us up. To be fair, I didn't take that many images due to the lack of light and I spent most of the time just watching their manic behaviour..

Close shot of a Guillemot with a fish of some sort..



A few Puffin shots with Sand-eels..







It was time to depart this island and head for the inner island and thankfully by now the sun was starting to burn through the fog. Arriving on the inner island, I realised straight away I wasn't going to get any shots of the Puffins perched on rocks with Sand-eels in their bills as the sun was in the wrong direction for that! doh! Instead I decided to get some more flight shots and spent the next few hours snapping away at any Puffin that came by...













That was my first visit to the Farne islands and although I came away with a few good images it really wasn't that enjoyable for me, the islands are very small and the amount of people visiting seemed a little excessive, maybe I was a tad sensitive that day ;)and I should give it another chance next year so we'll see..

After staying the night in Dunbar, we made our way to Aviemore, booked into our accommodation then meet up with another one of my friends Tony who had travelled up from the Lake District. We decided to go and have a look at the famous Chanorny Point in Inverness and this is where the Dolphins gather to hunt the Salmon and from what information I had gathered from the internet, if you're lucky the views of them leaping about while hunting are breath taking. We still had a few hours to wait for the tide and according to local information, the Dolphins normally show best when the low tide starts to turn and as it was getting nearer the time the crowds started to gather..

Taken with my Iphone just before the action began, this crowd doubled in size once the Dolphins showed up..



First to show was one of the youngsters...



..then all hell broke loose with Dolphins starting to jump all over the place. I didn't know where to look next and it took some time to get my eye in and to predict where they would breach next.







I was starting to get the hang of it by now but I was still missing some amazing leaps..



I got super lucky to catch one of the big adults with a Salmon..



This is the same Dolphin leaping clean out of the water..



This went on for over an hour before they started to move out further into the estuary.





I was totally blown away by what I had witnessed and it must rate as one of my best wildlife experiences to date. I'm told the Dolphins are about all year round but the displays vary and by all accounts that was one of the best this year. I'll leave you with one of my favourite images from the visit..



Thanks for looking...