Scottish Ospreys & Dolphins – 2017

Overview

Most people’s view of the beautiful Osprey is a distance glimpse of a bird as it soars overhead.  The Osprey is one of the most elusive raptors in the UK and this trip is designed to photograph this stunning bird at two very special locations. We will be spending three early morning sessions at Rothiemurchus fish farm in purpose built hides overlooking a small pool. The resident males in the surrounding area visit this pool in the early morning and our aim is to try and capture that special moment as the Osprey plunges into the water after a fish. The other hide we will have exclusive use of has been positioned near to a resident breeding pair and a fish is placed out each day to attract them to the perch positioned in front of the hide. This combination of two Osprey locations is a unique way of achieving a great portfolio of this stunning bird. We will also be heading to the coast on a couple of afternoons to the famous watch point at Chanonry. As the tide turns the resident Bottle-nosed Dolphin start to hunt the Salmon that are returning back to their spawning grounds. Sometimes the Dolphins put on spectacular show as they leap out of the water. A great combination for a classic highland summer trip.

Itinerary Open +Close -

Day 1: Travel to get yourself to our Highland base for the Wednesday evening. We’ll arrange transfers from the local station (25 minutes or so away) or you can drive yourself. Over dinner we’ll look forward to outline the options for your photography ahead.

Day 2: It is a very early morning start as we have to be at Rothiemurchus and into the Osprey hide before dawn so we don’t disturb the birds. All of the group will do this early morning session which will go onto to around 9am. We will then heading back to our Steading for a late breakfast. After breakfast we will then split into two groups as the hide overlooking the perched Osprey only has enough room for three people. The rest of the group will then head to the Moray Firth for our encounter with the Dolphins. We will all be back at the steading for a hearty evening meal.

Days 3-4: These days will follow the exact same routine as day 2 but we will change over personnel to go into the Osprey hide for the perched shots. We are all in the Osprey diving hide in the mornings so it is three very early starts each day. Then we will go up to the Dolphins in the afternoon.

A note on hide practice: Ospreys in particular are incredibly difficult birds to approach and photograph. It only becomes possible generally through the hard work of attracting them with supplementary food and it takes several years to achieve this so they are reliable in visiting the sight regularly. Those years of work and effort can be destroyed very easily, as they remain incredibly wary birds – it is why we have to enter and leave the hides with a ‘see you out’ process. Any association between people and the bait and hide will mean the birds won’t return. The same applies when they do arrive and we have the chance to photograph them. You must play the long patient game – quite a challenge if you’ve been sitting for several hours waiting for them to arrive. The birds must be allowed to settle first time of arriving before you start snapping. Movement and noise must be at an absolute minimum – machine gun firing as the bird lands will ruin your day. You must not exit the hide during your stay and only once you have contacted us to ‘see you out’. We have to have these rules in place because Ospreys are incredibly sensitive to disturbance and by following this advice it will maximize your own photographic potential.

Day 5: After a hearty Scottish breakfast (and a bit of a lie in) it’ll be time to head home. There will be transfers to the local station as required.

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