Friday 27 December 2019

That was the decade that was....

As we are close to a new decade, here are few of my favourite images and attached memories from the last decade.

The above images were taken in Shetland. Orcas had been my bucket list for as long as I can remember and during the last decade they have become very frequent off the Shetland Isles. My father and I were lucky enough to catch up with Busta's Pod and watch them for a whole day from one site- which is really unusual. Not the classic Hugh Harrop photos I had dreamed off but a stellar experience and one I will never forget.

I was fortunate enough to visit Canada with Kev DuRose and Graham Catley in the first winter period of 2014 during a massive influx of Snowy Owls south. Some days we saw well into double figures and some individuals were remarkably obliging. Snowy Owl has long been one of my favourite birds and to see them in the snow was just incredible. I have never been so cold in my life but it was totally worth it.

Back in March 2013, I was lucky enough to hear about a 'rogue' male Capercaillie. I have strong memories from my childhood of watch David Attenborough being attack by one on telly and always wanted to experience this. Nothing can prepare you for the primordial heart pounding feeling you get when faced with a 'proper' male Caper. Fantastic to photograph and to experience.

In early June 2012 I visited Varanger and Lapland and we found six broods of Hawk Owls. Often incredibly confiding and very vocal, these were great subjects and highly addictive to photograph.

Vagrant mammals to the UK have always fascinated me. Of course they are usually sea mammals by the nature of us being on an Island. Our visit to Shetland in June 2018 coincided with Bearded Seal in Lerwick town centre. Only around 30 individuals have been recorded in Britain, most in Shetland. and this one was a real cutie.

Otters have been a favourite subject all year and this family in Thetford town centre was the start of if it all in 2013. Can't wait for more in the next decade!

I realise this is an Owl heavy post but I shall finish this post with my favourite twitch of the decade. To my favourite place in the world, Shetland, earlier this year for the ultra rare Tengmalm's Owl. I didn't go for the bird straight away so regretted it when it disappeared, especially after some mega photos appeared online. Over a month later, it reappeared in the same garden and I just had to go. Flights were booked, hire car was booked, I arrived in Shetland early morning on the Saturday 13th and returned home Sunday 14th. It was last seen in the garden on that Saturday; on the Sunday it was seen further north on Unst, clearly migrating north and was never seen again!

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Common Blue Butterfly

A bit of Butterfly love from the summer, in the highlands.

Sunday 29 September 2019


It's hard to know how many Ospreys have been around the Deepings this last couple of weeks but this morning two were found by JT at Maxey GP. This one spent the whole day fishing the Maxey GP complex but kept returning to the same tree with fish. Unfortunately the weather wasn't great but still great to see. Un-ringed so perhaps of Scottish origin!?

Saturday 28 September 2019

Thursday 18 July 2019

Bonxie V Gannet

This Great Skua just wouldn't leave this Gannet alone after it had dived. You don't realise quite how big a Bonxie is until it attacks a Gannet! Hardcore!

Arctic Skua

Been a while since my last close encounter with Arctic Skuas, I perhaps have to go as far back as 2012 when I visited Norway. A pair near Mossbank on mainland Shetland today were very obliging, sticking to look-outs before making raids on Arctic Terns. Typically fearless of humans.