I photographed a wide selection of subjects this month, starting with a pair of Sparrowhawks.
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.
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.
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.
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)
lichen 'witch head'
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.
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.
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!
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.
Back in Cheshire, I spent the rest of the month concentrating on macro photography...
The Blackthorn blossom was particularly good this year due to the calm, dry weather we experienced for most of the month...
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