Friday, 17 July 2009

Friday flowers

After doing the blog on Wednesday I was waiting to be picked up, for a change, to have a day in the field taking photographs. The rain was falling steadily but there was not much wind. The rain started to ease off about 11am and my lift arrived with the first port of call being Loch Beg to look for the Otters - plenty of fish jumping but nothing else so a scenic shot instead!As usual with a camera in hand the wildlife was staying at bay so we switched to flowers and dragonflies. Spear Thistle seemed a good one to start with. It's not a nice one to fall into so I didn't this time but I have in the past - ditches always catch the unwary!Being a tall lad the ground is always far away for me so the next shot of Eyebright was an achievement as I wasn't dressed for lying in the wet grass. There is a nice little tale attached to this plant....17th century botanist William Cole reckoned that Eyebright was the herb used by Linnets to clear it's eyesight.Since short-sighted Linnets are not easy to identify, few could argue with Cole's reasoning!We made some effort for flight shots of dragonflies as the birds were being elusive. I was keeping out of the way of the pro's with the big lenses and didn't even attempt the flight shot. Golden Ringed was the main target but this Common Hawker decided to join in the fun.We'd noticed some Harebells high up at, the side of the road, that looked good for some alternative angles without lying in the mud. The shutters were clicking away like mad so they must have been happy with something to photograph. I took a couple of shots so I didn't feel left out. Up here this is the Scottish Bluebell with Bluebells being called Wild Hyacinth. Other names for this beauty that is linked with magic and folklore are 'witches' thimbles', 'fairy bells' and 'old man's bells' relating to the Devil himself!We headed off to a different location and it was nice to take in a bit more of the scenery while I was a passenger. Rock Pipit was one of the targets as they perform quite well and are numerous but I found some little red beetles crawling over the rocks instead. These pretty little things turned out to be weevils - Apion miniatum to be precise.While I'm playing with the bugs the terrible trio are hard at it..........'what's that I've stood in - can we photograph it?'.
Everyone has a go at fishing up here but I was surprised to find this ewe guarding the creels for the master. Looks like they had sold out of todays catch too!That's enough of the silly stuff for one blog entry. Thursday was a return to normality and back on the trail of wildlife. The weather was good yet again. We failed to get Mountain Hare early on but a female Hen Harrier flying by more than made up for that. Next stop produced the sightings of the day as we looked out to sea. A small group of Manx Shearwater were loafing just offshore so I set up the scope and the first person to look gave a cry of 'I've just seen a fin!' - Basking Shark was a high probability but I'd not noticed any on my first look around. A quick look in the scope and up came the fin again - Bottle-nosed Dolphin!! We scanned the surface of the sea to try to get another view and a Minke Whale broke the surface some way to the left of the Dolphin but didn't resurface. The BN Dolphin was seen again twice before it was out of sight round the headland. Superb stuff though. Lunchtime was spent looking for Eagles and Otters but nothing was showing initially. The usual 'one last look' produced a WT Eagle sitting on the ridge - it looked to be a dark bird so not an adult and this was proven when the bird took flight and the tail was dark. We moved on a mile or so down the road and picked up another WT Eagle above the same ridge but this time an adult bird - a cracking sight as the bird cruised over the top of a group of Stags that were skylined. We picked up the mother and cub Otters just as they were settling down for a sleep so we watched them grooming till they settled down for the afternoon. At the WT Eagle nest site the youngster was well out of the nest on a branch and one of the adults was keeping a watchful eye from the back of the forestry. Two Golden Eagle gave a decent display over the glen while we waited to see if the young WT would give us a better view. All told it had been a cracking day and we topped it off quite nicely with this Red Deer hind with a calf.

1 comment:

Kate S said...

God you're killing me! You and Bob in some sort of wildlife photographic double act!
It's almost too much! Need to save up for a very long lens me thinks....