Coastal wildlife is something I’ve largely neglected from my photography in the past. Being from Surrey, it’s not exactly something that’s easy to come by on a daily basis. I’ve had vague plans for years to visit hotspots for sea birds, such as Skomer or the Farnes, but have never managed to see them through. I’m currently travelling around the UK for work, and am trying to use that as an opportunity for my photography – a way to visit locations I’ve never been to before, and to hopefully photograph some wildlife I’ve never photographed before.
I’ve just come to the end of a month based in Edinburgh, and, given it very conveniently coincided with the beginning of the breeding season for many of the sea birds which nest on the coast and islands around the Firth of Forth, I decided to finally get some coastal photography done.
I’d made some plans in advance of locations I wanted to visit, but given it is not a part of the world I’ve ever visited before, and many of the species I wanted to photograph I’d never even seen before, let alone had in front of a camera, I was maybe not as prepared as I’d have liked. However, it turned out to be an incredibly inspiring month, and I have left having been utterly blown away by the beauty of many of the locations I visited, and the abundance and variety of wildlife I saw.
Eider ducks (Somateria mollissima) were a constant feature across all the locations I visited. Eiders are large, coastal ducks. They’re generally found close to the shore, and feed on molluscs such as mussels.
A trip to the Isle of May produced a variety of subjects. Every inch of the Island seemed to be home to some kind of bird – the cliffs were lined with thousands of guillemots:
In amongst the guillemots were also some razorbills – very similar in appearance to guillemots, the main difference being the larger, striped beak:
Herring and Yellow-Legged gulls were also present on the Island:
A brief, fierce hailstorm passed across the Island, giving way to sunshine, resulting in a striking rainbow:
The surface of the Island is covered in puffin burrows. The brief hailstorm seemed to drive most of the puffins into cover, but they gradually reappeared after the storm passed:
Shags also nest on the Island:
The crossing to the Isle of May gave me a fairly distant view of one of the other Forth Islands, as well as some brief glimpses of some of it’s 150,000 feathered inhabitants, which will be the subject of Part II of this post…
#Bird #Coast #Eider Duck #Guillemot #Isle of May #Kittiwate #Photography #Puffin #Razorbill #Scotland #Sea bird #Wildlife