Cairngorms

March 09, 2013  •  1 Comment

So for the month of February the highlight was spending a couple of days in the Cairngorms. The target species were Capercaille, Crested Tit, Ptarmigan, and Mountain Hare.

Capercaille - I had seen them before so it wasnt a first for me, but to use a smaller lens would produce some different photos. I was using a 300mm f4 IS lens as previously had a 400mm 5.6. The light was low and often the bird is in shade within the forest, so was excited as to how the 300mm would fair. You can get amazingly close to this bird, but still I find it a hard bird to photograph...right.Capercaille

 

After a few hours at the Caper site, we went in search of Crested Tit. Again I have photographed this bird before and always wanted to return to get some shots of it in the snow. The snow was still on the trees slightly but the tits were few and far between. In fact after about 2 hours we only had about 2 sightings. This was my best image, again taken with the 300mm f4 lens.

Snow Crest

The Ptarmigan was a bird I had wanted to photograph, so getting up early we started our ascent up the mountain. These birds only reside at high altitudes and in Winter are hard to spot as their plumage is pure white. This morning the sun was out and their was no wind. It was amazingly warm for a February morning and after about a 2 hour hike passing I saw a Red Grouse. Then a little higher was a Ptarmigan. I spent a couple of hours crawling and sliding on my back with heavy 500mm lens on my chest, to get close to these birds. Shattered and sore we descended back to the car...well worth the effort though!

Male Ptarmigan

Next up was a species I had not ever seen...the mountain hare! Having been given some locations we set out again in search.This was a wild and remote landscape and was told they like a 'room with a view' so we continued to climb. Eventually we could go no higher and sure enough we spotted a few basking in the sun. Again I started to crawl through the bog and heather and was able to get suprisingly close. 

Mountain Hare

If you would like to see more images of the wildlife we saw please look into the website and feel free to sign the guestbook.

Thanks for reading.


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Dean Eades(non-registered)
Superb,
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