One of the best moments of my recent dawn chorus walks was coming across a Song Thrush that, apart from the odd interruption by a Blackbird, sang for well over half an hour. It was also pretty apparent that it was slightly down the pecking order as it ceased singing each time the Blackbird came along and dropped down a couple of feet from its high perch!
There are a few iconic species you hope for when heading to Mull and we were fortunate to see them all. The Otter showed on our last day and the Hen Harriers gave great scope views but were always a little far for photography.Â Both species of Eagles didn’t disappoint and Red Deer were numerous but better at dawn and late evening.
On the Saturday we arrived, whilst in the hide at Fishnish we got onto a second winter Iceland Gull whilst scanning the 80 or so gulls around the fish farms a couple of hundred meters or so off shore. It gave fine scope views but was far to distant for any photography.
Heading Towards Lockdown
Mull, capricious, at times turbulent and always always changeable. This is an island of light and shade, of brilliance and foreboding often shifting between these extremes within minutes. It is a place that draws you in, holds you and tugs at you as you leave.
A few of the birds we caught up with
Winter in Norfolk brings vast skies and some great birds. I’ve visited the north Norfolk coast on a few occasions in the last year or so sometimes as part of bird race with friends (good company and good birding and if you’re up for a year list, gets you off to a flying start with well over a hundred species possible in a few days) and sometimes on my own.
After reading Adam Nicholson’s love letter to the Shiants, Sea Room, these islands had drawn me to them in a way that islands have a habit of doing. I’d caught sight of them from the Kylebrahn a couple of years ago as we sailed across the Minch from Skye to Lochmaddy. We were now in striking distance having spent some time exploring the area and peninsulas around Gairloch.
A more recent piece has seen us working with the idea of form emerging from space with the aesthetic of splitting the frame in two. ‘Out of focus’ becomes a relative concept in this work as in reality we are imaging the microscopic that is not visible to our sensitivities, thus acknowledging the curious and again relative notion of emptiness.
A very different experience to most of the islands I’ve been to was the trip to Coquet Island off the Northumberland Coast. It’s managed by the RSPB and landing is not permitted. Its lure is the Roseate Terns and of course Puffins.