Let me just start this blog by saying we have had an awesome weekend in Aviemore. We’ve not been up since the “Beast from the East” in early March. Thankfully it was a bit warmer this weekend! I’m writing this on the way back from Aviemore, which is a great way to keep entertained but I’m actually wondering if it’s a ploy to stop me talking the whole way home.
Since this is our first blog post let me clarify who is writing this! If it’s “I” I’m referring to myself, Clare (Hello) and if it’s “We” it’s both of us. Let’s continue :)
We crammed loads in to our weekend including Mountain Hares, Ospreys, Squirrels, Zip Lining, and Prosecco (obviously)
Heading straight for the Hares we set off with an obligatory stop at a garage for enough food to feed the 500. It’s such a gorgeous drive up to the Highlands and our musical entertainment came in the form of James. Kate and her husband (and his family) love going to see them live. We attended Party at the Palace in Linlithgow a couple of weeks ago where they headlined so Kate's pre education had me jumping around like a true fan at the gig!
Getting ourselves prepared for the steep climb up the hills to the Hares we saw a Golden Eagle far in the distance soaring on the thermals. Yes, it can be easy to misidentify a Goldie for a Buzzard from that far away but there was no mistaking this bird for its sheer size. The Findhorn Valley is a hotspot for all sorts of Raptors so it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled on the drive through.
Taking a few breaks on the climb up to look for Hares (handy as well for catching your breath…so we stopped a lot) It wasn’t until we got right to the top (of course) that we clocked a couple but ended up seeing 5 in total. Kate settled herself with a pretty easy going pair (one of which had already started to turn white) and I made my way a bit higher up but the ones I tried with were more wary so I left them alone and went to sit with Kate. She’d got some great shots of some lazy Hares! They weren’t for moving so we took the time to just sit and enjoy sharing the space with them, which we never really do and it’s really such a lovely experience when wild animals let you be so close to them. After a while they were a bit more active and commenced rolling around in the Heather, having a wee scratch and post-sleep lunch. Being conscious not to intrude on them for too long we made our way back down and headed for home (Carn Mhor B&B).
Friday was an early-ish night since we were up at 3.30 the next day for the Ospreys. We both woke up at half 1 though and that was us (typical!)
Meeting Gordon from Aviemore Ospreys at 4.15 we were joined by 5 other Photographers in the hide. Everyone seemed in good spirits and we had lots of chat between us all to pass the time.
The action started really early and in total we had 6 or 7 birds dive on the pond by about 6.30. There was nothing after that but that’s wildlife photography for you! The trickiest part of this hide is the lighting conditions - though as per Gordon’s words, that’s not his department!
From the hide you can see the birds circling above and attempt to dive, which isn’t always successful. There’s lots of chasing and calling between rival birds, which is awesome to watch and listen to. We were also kept amused by a lone female Mallard who was trying to eat the fish food.
It’s a strange feeling walking out the hide at 8am whilst the rest of the world starts to wake up and you’ve already had several adrenaline rushes from trying to capture these beautiful birds and do them justice.