Monday, 3 February 2014

A return to the dark island...

Great article about a wildlife photographer focusing on golden eagles back in the early 20th century...
http://raptorpolitics.org.uk/2014/01/30/nostalgic-look-back-in-time-at-scotlands-first-pioneering-golden-eagle-photographer-2/

SNH say no to ridiculous call for eagle control...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-25921453

So called country lovers question Buzzard abundance in the UK...There is defiantly too much of something in our countryside

http://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/are-buzzards-now-vermin-asks-country-life-magazine/

I have arrived back on Coll for around a fortnight to photograph / time lapse the dark skies. The island was designated a dark sky community in December 2014 and my videography will be used to promote the isle for astro-tourism.

After a drive through the night with stars showing all the way up (and a stunning red fox!) I was hoping it would continue into the next night and I wasn't disappointed as the skies were clear from dusk til dawn and I managed to shoot a time lapse in three locations around Arinagour village. A great start to my second spell on Coll which took a bit of the pressure off for the remainder of my time but I still had plenty of sites to cover along with old sites to improve on.


dark sky community village...

Arinagour church...
On the Thursday afternoon after managing some sleep in the morning myself and Jen headed out to the south west of the isle to cover a long coastal stretch down there as the good weather continued. One point of interest was the amount of GN Divers around the peninsula with a count off 44 made in a 4 hour spell. A female long tailed duck was a good record off Feall bay. Ringed Plover, Redshank and Turnstone, also working the stretch. Two Otters, a female Merganser and a single Porpoise as we stopped for lunch looking out to Gunna. A nice number of Barnacle geese and Greylag geese on the rich pasture inland. The only raptors to be seen were Buzzards and a few Brown Hares as we made our way back round to the car.

GN Diver...
On Friday a short evening walk produced a first year WT Eagle tackling the strong winds with rigid wings. Always a pleasure to see them again and promising signs of breeding birds on Coll in the future with an increase in sightings the last few years. Plenty of food for them here along with skerries and islets to nest on. 

After a two day spell of strong winds and wet spells the havens opened for a short spell on Saturday night and with forecast of a CME hurtling towards earth there was a chance of aurora. After taking some long exposures to the north I managed to pick of faint green before the cloud rolled in solid. As we were walking back to the house we looked behind and with the cloud clearing we noticed a pale glow at a good height of about 45 degrees in the sky which I knew straight away was the lights! It weakened off only a minute later and the cloud interfered for the rest of the night. It was nice to see it briefly any way and fingers crossed for a display in the week to come.


26 Snow Geese taking off... 
In flight...beautiful birds
Barnies in flight...
On Sunday the sun made an appearance so Jen and I headed down to cover new territory on the south coast of the isle around Breachacha. The geese around there were just superb with the first record 26 Snow Geese which have taken up residency on Coll and have been breeding since the 1980s. Mass numbers of Barnies showing well in good light. 30 plus Curlew probing in a grazed field and a Bar-tailed Godwit on Breachacha beach. A good number of Ravens around and a Snipe flushed from the Ling heather along with a dead Snipe which looked like a Peregrine kill possibly. Chocker block with Brown Hares around the castle at dusk as we headed back yam.

Barnies with that classic coll terrain
some spectrum that!
Breachacha castle...
Thanks for taking the time to look at my blog I really appreciate it :)

5 comments:

  1. Fantastic photographs as always.

    ReplyDelete