Monday, 12 May 2014

On and off the Island (Days 112 - 122)

The last 10 days have been quite different to my normal routine as I managed to slip off the island for a few days - not that I was without my camera.  The aim of going away was to capture an annual event but more of that later. It's been such a hectic time I'm struggling to remember what I did and the photo's provide useful reminders.
Day 112 - A quick snap in my garden of the song thrush, mouth stuffed with bugs (hopefully for chicks in the nest).
Day 113 - A tiny wren has a huge voice but doesn't stay out in the open very long, preferring to dart into the undergrowth at the merest hint of a camera. I think I'll have to get my hide out to capture closer images of this one.
Day 114 - And a full day photography tour saw my little group battling hazy grey weather as we circumnavigated the island.  Stopping in Catacol to capture the Apostles cottages.  Luckily we stayed dry and we did get some lovely shots over the day.
Day 115 - It's raining again and delicate woodland flowers droop under the weight of water and I'm preoccupied with packing.  My bag is full of chargers and technical stuff (along with a hot water bottle!).
Day 116 - I started running again last week, after several months off following an injury.  It's been a bit of a stop-start recovery, spanning over a year now but I haven't given in.  So I'm planning on a bit of cross training and therefore dragged out my bike for an 8km cycle.  I had forgotten how hard the saddle is!
Day 117 - I've arrived at a lovely cottage on the Glen Tanar Estate but passed this derelict barn on the way up the track.  First job on arriving was to walk my dogs, who had been in the car for hours, so we wandered passed this and had to have a nosy in.  The roof beams were amazing, and I'm sure it will be converted in the not too distant future.
Day 118 -  Loch Muick (yes that is snow still on the tops) and a lovely walk all the way round.  Eight miles in 3 hours enjoying the scenery and full 4 seasons weather experience! Lots of deer but very few birds on the water. Sat down for my picnic and gained a couple of ticks!!
Day 119 - Between April and July Balmoral Castle is open to the public - well one room and the gardens.  After an early shower I managed to hitch a lift down the drive (the little truck had just left) and picked up my audio set.  Feeling slightly cluttered with camera, monopod, audio set and bag I set off around the site.  The gardens were a little disappointing but the buildings were stunning and there was plenty to see (especially off the beaten track - working on the principle someone would soon move me on if I wandered where I shouldn't). The Garden Cottage was one of my favourite spots as I could peer through the windows and wander to the water garden. Keen gardeners will be pleased to note that I spotted greenfly in the Queens conservatory - so no-one is immune to this little pest!
Day 120 - Actually it should be night 120, as I started at 2.30am with a short drive to meet the ranger  (Mike) to be escorted out to a hide.  The plan, to shoot Black Grouse during the lek.  The weather was not looking promising!  Camera kit carefully planned, padded fleece sit mat, hot water bottle, hat and gloves packed in preparation for a cold night.  No flask of coffee as I wouldn't want to leave the hide for the duration!  In the darkness the grouse made lots of noise, sounding like steam valves going off.  As light - well a greyness - arrived the birds were plentiful.  Shame the light wasn't!  My closest visitor was the majestic hare that sat in front of the hide for a few minutes before lopping away.  The black grouse will be subject of another blog soon.
Day 121 - The Burn o'Vat a rock formation (pot hole) and small waterfall, accessed through a gap in the rock and well marked from the car park at the Muir of Dinnet a large nature reserve where I saw plenty of greylag geese and golden eye duck during a walk around the loch.
Day 122 - Time to go home, and I took this from the roadside in Dinnet.  There seem to be a lot of castellated and turreted buildings in Royal Deeside and I found it a fascinating place.  I will definitely be back to this area as I don't feel I have even scratched the surface of what it has to offer - and I want some good weather for the Lek next year!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely atmospheric photographs, love the wren and the flower with the droplet of rain especially.