Female Mallard

When we think of ducks, we usually think of Mallards, and then it is usually the male of the species that first comes to mind with their bright green heads. Even if you type ducks in to Google the first picture that comes up is that of a male Mallard. Although their plumage is a little more understated than that of their male counterparts the female of the species are just as beautiful.

This female seemed quite oblivious to all the other ducks & geese on the lake. She looked quite content on her little rock that was nestled just below the surface of the water. Almost as though she was posing, so it would have been rude not to photograph her.

Common Guillemot

When we visit Scotland to see family & friends we try to make time to explore more of the country of my birthplace. I have to admit I have probably explored more of the North-East of Scotland in the 10 years since I have moved away than I ever did when lived there.

Earlier this year we took the opportunity to explore RSPB Fowlsheugh (Crawton, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire), which we had been informed was an excellent location for seeing nesting seabirds such as Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, and Puffins. It’s estimated that Fowlsheugh is home to more than 130,000 breeding seabirds during Spring and Summer. So with cameras packed and off we went exploring along the cliffs and coastal path.

One of the many seabirds that I was lucky enough photograph on this visit was the Common Guillemot aka Common Murre. We were being careful and respectful of the wildlife by sticking to the paths along the cliff tops. The views over the North Sea and of the seabirds are breathtaking. I would highly recommend visiting.

Swan & Goose

A visit to Rother Valley Country Park is one of our go to places to take in nature, while also getting in some exercise walking around the lakes.

On this occasion it was the swans that captured my attention. The overcast sky reflecting off the water, highlighting the contrast swan’s white plumage against the darkness of the water is what particularly caught my eye. There is never a shortage of water birds on the lake, so it didn’t take long for the resident geese to get in on action and try to steal the show.

The Bumblebee & Ragwort

Our garden continues to be a source of photographic inspiration. The Ragwort that we planted last year has flourished the last few months, attracting various pollinators (bees, butterflies, and hoverflies).

The last few days I have managed to capture some great shots of hoverflies with my iPhone 12 Pro, but somehow I always feel like I’m cheating using my phone camera. So this time thought I should use my trusty DSLR. I didn’t spot any hoverflies on this occasion, but there were plenty of Bumblebees enjoying our Ragwort.

Seal Beach

Lately I have found myself busier at work, which has resulted in spending less time behind the camera and writing blog updates. When I have been able to spend behind the camera, I’ve not quite managed to find the time to sort out any photos that I have taken.

Last month we finally managed to travel North of the border to Scotland to visit family and friends for the first time since the COVID pandemic. As well as catching up with family and friends we always try to go out and explore some of the natural beauty of the North-East of Scotland and this time was no exception.

One of our favourite places in Aberdeenshire to visit has always been Newburgh Beach (aka Seals Beach). We usually stroll along the beach and watch on the seals on the other side of the bay and in the sea. But on this particular occasion we were lucky enough to have a seal venture onto the same side of the beach as us, only feet away from where we were walking, and happily posed for us as we snapped away. It was one of those situations where you wanted to get closer, but also wanted to keep your distance as to not spook the seal. Although I don’t think he would have cared much even if we had we sat right next to him. He seemed quite relaxed just lazing on the sand almost oblivious to people strolling along the beach. I’m pretty sure we were all more interested in him than he was in us.

Bumblebee on Cosmos

A lot of patience is usually required when photographing bees (any winged insect for that matter) just as you have focused on them they are off to their next plant or flower. I love watching them as the busy themselves collecting nectar and pollen from the plants that they visit.

I captured these shots while photographing some Cosmos flowers (aka Mexican Aster) where the soft pink of the blooms caught my eye, clearly I was not the only one they caught the attention of.