The second of our 2018 winter wildlife tours has just come to an end and we've said goodbye to Deborah, Erica, Helen and Jonathan.
The tour began on Saturday when we gathered at our Highland hotel for introductions and our evening meal where we discussed the plans for the week ahead and our guest's hopes for images involving snow.
Snow wasn't an issue at that point as we had plenty in the days leading up to the tour. Parts of the Highlands had so much snow that getting anywhere was proving tricky. We split in to two smaller groups across the week with hopes of photographing a range of species across the Highlands.
Deborah, Jonathan and James M headed out to look for red deer on day 1 followed by a visit to a very snowy Glen Affric. As suggested , getting around wasn't easy, even in a 4x4 but we managed to find some red deer in the glens.
Below: A very wintry Dog Falls in Glen Affric.
Erica, Helen and James R headed to our squirrel and crested tit sites where they spent the day photographing in the freezing temperatures. Winter 2017/18 has been a good one with plenty of snow but -9 seemed just a wee bit chilly!
Erica and Helen had a 'wish list' of images which included squirrels in the snow, red grouse, snow bunting and waxwings amongst others! Thanks to the powers of social media, James R was able to find the location of some waxwings at a local supermarket in Inverness. Erica and Helen were delighted although I'm not sure that wind-swept waxwing was too sure about the Highland weather.
We always try and make a visit to the RSPB's Tollie Red kites and as Wednesday was very, very windy, we played safe and spent the afternoon there. Brad (front right) was on duty that day and gave a very informative talk about all things red kite. He even showed us his Y-fronts! Now before you get too offended or report him to the RSPB, they weren't actually his. Brad was telling us about the weird and wonderful things that have been found in a red kite nests which included stolen underwear, soft toys, sunglasses and even a lotto ticket!
Mountain hare are always popular on our tours and we spent three days with them. Sadly the snow melted very quickly but that didn't bother the hares who just go on with it. This very obliging individual spent nearly 4 hours sleeping, washing, eating, yawning and stretching whilst we happily snapped away.
This image shows that with patience and the right approach, you can get close enough to the hares without causing any disturbance. We eventually left this hare in exactly the same spot as we'd found him in.
So a huge thanks to Deborah, Erica, Helen and Johnathan for their company this week. We've had a great time working with you and introducing (reintroducing in Erica and Helen's case) to our wee part of the Highlands.
If you'd like to join us in 2019, details of our winter wildlife tour can be found by clicking here.
We look forward to hearing from you.