Friday, 28 August 2015

Finally...the elusive Pine Marten

Around five or six years ago I started out on my mission to photograph pine martens. I visited the speyside wildlife hide near Aviemore on three occasions and all three awarded great views of martens however it was always after dark. In June one year myself and a friend also booked the same hide exclusively all night to maximise the chance of a daylight showing. Despite the long vigil once again we only got night time views. Three years ago I became aware of a site in Southern Ireland where martens were coming to a hide in daylight. A flight, hire car and 28 hours in a small one man hide later and I was heading home not having even seen one!

So this was the latest attempt and at last success. Three days at a site on Scotland's Ardnamurchan peninsular being eaten by midges was richly rewarded by great views and photo opportunities of these very elusive but charismatic mammals. Mission accomplished?..well there are other shots I would like to have achieved!

Either side of the pine marten sessions I decided to explore Ben Nevis, Glen Coe and Rannoch Moor. Areas that I have often passed through but never stopped to admire. I wanted to dedicate some time to landscapes which I have never given enough time to. This image of the River Etiv took me quite a while to nail but the long exposure meant that I got something akin to a good shot...for me at least. It has also whetted my appetite for more landscape opportunities.

Yorkshire magic

June saw me head to the Yorkshire coast with a group of friends, the aim to photograph diving gannets from a boat off shore. Unfortunately the winds meant that the trip was cancelled so will have to wait until next year now. However all was not lost as the lovely RSPB Bempton Cliffs was full of photographic opportunities. Careful positioning of the tripod meant that I could frame this courting pair of gannets through the abundant red campion flowers.

From the exact same position I then had a prolonged view of this peregrine hunting for rock doves above the cliffs. This was a great spectacle but also the best chance I have ever had for photographing a species that I have always had a soft spot for. I even managed to capture the stoop but this was my favourite shot of the series.