Thursday, 29 April 2010

A Couple of Shots from North Berwick

A Cormorant flies past the harbour on a dead calm sea.

Female Eider battles against the choppy sea.

Pied Wagtail feeding close to it's nest site on the harbour wall

The Scottish Seabird Center before sunrise

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

As A Matter of Interest

Here I show a picture of an Eider Duck taken in the early evening on West Beach in North Berwick and a Mallard nesting indoors in a garden center in Morpeth.
Forty miles down the coast from North Berwick lies Seahouses the gateway to the Farne Islands, not only that, it must also be the Eider Duck capital of the world. I have been going there for the past eighteen years or so and I'm so use the the little darlings (although, they can be quite vicious at times) coming to the shore line when they see people, as they associate people with food. In North Berwick however they act completely different, the slightest movement towards them and they scoot off into the sea.
Mallards occupy every park with a pond in Britain, here again shelter and food are the predominant factors, but in Coquetdale in Nothumberland they are completely wild, again bob your head up half a mile away and they will spot you and disappear in the opposite direction.
The case is almost the same for Dippers, I say almost, but their is a difference as they don't feed from people being self reliant and wholly dependant on the stretch of river they inhabit, but in most places they shy away from people while in Lathkilldale a popular walking area in Derbyshire they are most confiding.
All these birds are genetically the same, the question is what makes them act so different in their habits?

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Early Morning in North Berwick

Sunset over Fidra
The Cottage from West Beach
Another day another sunrise
Bass Rock Sunrise
Isle of May can just be made out on the horizon
A two week break was divided, a week in the Scottish coastal town of North Berwick and a week in our beloved peaceful hamlet of Alwinton in Northumberland.
North Berwick is a place we have often visited on day trips when we have been holidaying in Northumberland and has always been on my wish list as a place to stay for a few days. We chose a renovated fisherman's cottage set right in the confines of the busy harbour. It sounded idyllic and we were not to be disappointed, the views from the lounge looked directly down onto the West Beach, accompanied each evening with stunning sunsets. From the bedroom and kitchen we overlooked the East Beach dominated by Bass Rock and an equally impressive array of sunrises.
Each morning my eyelids were prised open by the orange glow of light that filled the room as if a flower welcoming a new day. I couldn't resist getting up and taking a peek behind the curtains....WOW, it was simply an astonishing sight with the flag poles of the Seabird Center and the plum pudding Bass Rock silhouetted against the ever changing hues of the morning dawn....natures theater.
I couldn't resist, I slipped my fleece on over my pajamas, picked up my camera and a couple of lenses, and ventured out into the cold morning air, thirty seconds later at 5.30am I stood on East Beach quite alone, save for a dozen or so Eiders huddled up in the corner of the sea wall and a few Herring Gulls gilding around, occasionally they would call out breaking the deafening silence...magic.
Reflections from the dead calm paddling pool, a concrete barrier that traps the incoming tidal water formed a mirror image of a dramatic sky. I took image after image including the sunrise which rose to the right of Bass Rock at 6.08am.
I returned to the cottage only to change my lens to the 500mm and headed straight back out past the harbour and onto the rocks past the Seabird Center gabbing some flight shots of passing Gannets, Shags, Cormorants and Eiders, all where a bit distant but it didn't matter it was great to be out on such a glorious morning. Suddenly I felt chilly and hungry and decided to return for breakfast... goodness me it was 9.30 people were by this time knocking about, dog walkers, the milk man, a few tourist and me in my pajamas.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Passing Through

Early morning surprise a Chiffchaff passed through my garden. Needless to say my coffee went cold.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

The Wigan Otter or why I should have gone to Specsavers

A brief foray down to my local river Douglas "the Dougie" as we call it in "WIGIN", revealed the first Sand Martins of the year and the wonderful sight of a pair of Kingfishers darting upstream. A female Goosander drew me down to the river bank, but she sailed away in the direction of the Kingfishers. Maybe, I thought, if I sit and wait she will return and I will get a really good low angle shot and you never know the Kingfishers may return.
Well I waited for a while and was just about to give up, when, I noticed an object approaching, dead center of the river, a head sticking up and leaving a wake in its trail.
Bloody Hell, it can't be, it is, its an Otter!!!! - How far away is it? (Peter Kay Joke)Its only small but what else can it be
Well it approached closer and closer, strange thing was it never got any bigger. Then it was level with me. Bloody Hell Should have gone to Specsavers!!!!