May 2017
May 2017 - Birds, Badgers and Battles

With evenings ever lighter as spring unfolds, it was great to head back down the East Lothian coast again for an evening’s photography. It was hardly a classic sunset but chinks of light gave the sky some interest. A longer exposure gave some movement to the sea and the barnacled rocks in the foreground balanced the scene nicely. I find this piece of coastline addictive and hard to tear myself away from.

I’m just back from a weekend kayaking on the Firth of Forth. On the first day we paddled to Inchcolm island and enjoyed views of the abbey and the gull colony that watched every step you made! The next day we travelled round the isles of the Forth - Craigleith, Lamb and Fidra. All three are seabird colonies and it was incredible to view the birdlife from water level. Puffins, razorbills, guillemots, shag, gulls, oystercatchers, eiders, arctic terns, gannets and a few grey seals all made appearances. It set my mind racing as to how I could safely turn a kayaking trip into a photographic opportunity…

Yellow seems to be the colour of spring; daffodils, primroses, gorse, celandine and oilseed rape all flower to bring a splash of colour to gardens and countryside alike. Lesser celandine on the hill close to where we stay made for an easy photograph, the yellow petals complementing the green foliage (see image).

I’ve also started working with the badgers again after a winter rest. In spite of photographing them for several years now, it’s still excites me whenever a badger first appears in front of your lens. Unfortunately some local youngsters started digging mountain bike trails through the wood during the Easter holidays creating jumps, sawing down trees and destroying stone walls. Their trails and resultant destruction went right through the area where I feed the badgers and stopped just shy of the sett itself. A quick appeal to the council and the resumption of the school term seems to have curbed their activities but sadly the damage remains.

A night in Alnwick gave us another opportunity to savour the Northumbrian countryside. We visited the charming village of Rothbury - complete with a classic car rally passing through! - and walked along the River Coquet. On the way home, we called in to visit the battlefield at Flodden. Standing beside the stone cross marking the battle site and erected in memory of the fallen from both sides during the 1513 campaign, I was struck at how rural and peaceful the whole surrounding area was. I was also entertained how the battle of Bannockburn has been remembered by a multi-million pound visitor centre near Stirling, while the battle of Flodden visitor centre comprises, very modestly, of a converted telephone box!