I have been lucky enough to have visited some of the islands in the Firth of Forth this spring. In a past life, these islands were strategically important in the defence of Rosyth dockyards during both the World Wars. The islands still contain the now derelict buildings of the fortifications and gun emplacements that once housed hundreds of servicemen. Today those buildings are occupied by fulmars, herring and black backed gulls as they raise their chicks during the breeding season. Gulls can become highly territorial in defence of their young and I was swooped upon by black back gulls on more than one occasion. In spite of running the ‘black back gauntlet,' their fluffy chicks are both cute and photogenic; I was even fortunate enough to spot an egg with a beak emerging from inside as a chick began to hatch. Inchgarvie, Inchmickery, Inchcolm and Inchkeith all form part of the Inner Forth islands and are hard to beat when it comes to gulls - along with views of eider ducks, cormorants, terns and grey seals.
I continue to visit the East Lothian coastline most weeks and the dry spring weather has produced some lovely sunsets. A visit to photograph the island of Fidra - complete with its lighthouse - against the background of a setting sun gave some pleasing results (see image). This stretch of coast remains very special for both its wildlife and views - and one that continually draws me back.
There is a new addition to my camera bag - a wide angle macro lens. This lens allows me to focus within 5mm of the main subject while still being able to give a sense of place to the overall image. It is so new that I have only used it twice so far but the results have been really exciting and the lens will bring a new dimension to my flower photography. Maybe it is time to start photographing insects too?
The warm, dry weather has produced a great display of spring flowers; bluebells, red campion, few flowered leek and thrift all thrived during May. My project to photograph the nature around a golf green introduced me to some new species of plant including garlic mustard and spring squill. It seems that the closer one looks, the more one sees with regard to plants. Meanwhile the badgers continue to visit the golf green and a trail camera caught three of them in the same image one evening.
Our bees have been packing spring blossom honey into their hives which we shall need to harvest soon. One of the queen bees needed to be replaced and it was fascinating to photograph it beneath a macro lens. The challenge now is to capture other aspects of everyday bee life.