April 2009

I photographed a wide selection of subjects this month, starting with a pair of Sparrowhawks.



Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) - Cheshire, England

This pair are nesting in a private garden not far from where I live. The owner of the property, David Culley, has been studying this pair for over 5 years and you can watch live high-definition webcam images of them on his website.

Female Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) - Cheshire, England

The male disappeared just after sunrise and returned about 30 seconds later with its breakfast, which it proceeded to dismember just in front of the hide. Unfortunately, even at ISO800 the shutter speeds in the overcast, dull conditions were too slow (1/40th of a second) to capture sharp action images of it tearing its prey apart.

male Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) - Cheshire, England

male Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) - Cheshire, England

After attending a parasitology conference in Edinburgh, I continued north and spent Easter weekend wilderness camping in the northwest Highlands. The first two nights were spent on the shores of Lochan Fada, about 10km from the nearest road. Despite leaving my big lens and tripod at home and travelling as light as possible, all my other camera gear pushed the weight of my backpack to over 35kg! A lot of weight to carry over rough terrain.

Lochan Fada, Wester Ross, Scotland

Lochan Fada, Wester Ross, Scotland

The weather was a bit dull and overcast but it was fantastically peaceful, with only Red Deer for company. I didn't see another person in the entire 2 day stay. Just the way I like it!

Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) - Wester Ross, Scotland

Red Deer (Cervus elaphus)
Wester Ross, Scotland

lichen 'witch head'
Wester Ross, Scotland

Incheril Cemetery & Beinn Eighe, Wester Ross, Scotland

On my return to Incheril, I then drove another 3 hours north to the extreme northwest corner of Scotland and camped for 3 nights at the beautiful Sandwood Bay.

Sandwood Bay, Sutherland, Scotland

This isolated bay is located about 4.5miles north of the small village of Balchrick (the nearest access point). Despite its isolation it is quite a popular place and there were at least another 10 tents dotted about the dunes on the Saturday night.

Sandwood Loch, Sutherland, Scotland

Unfortunately, I aggrevated an old knee injury on the walk out to the bay so I had to abandon my plan of walking along the coast to Cape Wrath (a 25km round trip by the shortest route), but it wasn't too much of a hardship pottering around such a beautiful bay. The weather was also far more conducive to photography than it had been at Lochan Fada if you could find a sheltered spot out of the howling 50mph winds!

Am Buachaille, Sutherland, Scotland

You can see just how windy it was if you look at the way the wave crests are being blown back on themselves in the above photo.

Sandwood Bay, Sutherland, Scotland

The dunes at Sandwood Bay, Sutherland, Scotland

Sunset at Sandwood Bay, Sutherland, Scotland - a composite of 9 photos stitched together in Photoshop

Am Buachaille at sunset, Sutherland, Scotland

Back in Cheshire, I spent the rest of the month concentrating on macro photography...

Drone Fly (Eristalis pertinax) - Cheshire, England

Yellow Dung Fly (Scaphophaga sp.) - Cheshire, England

Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris) - Cheshire, England

The Blackthorn blossom was particularly good this year due to the calm, dry weather we experienced for most of the month...

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) - Cheshire, England

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) - Cheshire, England

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) - Cheshire, England


March 2009 2009 Diary Index May 2009