Mallards, Water of Leith


June 2021 - New ventures

This month heralds the start of new ventures as I develop my photographic business. The full range of mentoring, coaching and photo opportunities are listed under this website’s ‘Tuition & Trips’ heading and I look forward to expanding the section over time. More immediately, I am organising a boat trip for up to 10 passengers to photograph the wildlife and landscape of the Inner Forth islands on Saturday 3rd July 2021 which will provide opportunities to capture unique views of the Edinburgh skyline, the island’s historic wartime ruins, the Forth Bridge close up and the wide variety of seabirds in the estuary. It’s a fantastic chance to capture something different! See the 'Tuition & Trips' section for price and how to book.

The spring has been cool and wet in south east Scotland so I hope June warms up as we reach the mid-point for the year! I have been photographing flowers and enjoyed moments with bluebells, ramsons and violets. A trip to the Cairngorms delivered three days of rain and I took a soaking photographing wood sorrel in a pine forest. It was interesting that the flowers were at least a month behind those in Edinburgh; wood anemones in the Cairngorms were in abundance yet they disappeared in Edinburgh several weeks ago. With travel restrictions currently lifted, it was good to be back in a northern pine forest once again.

I have also been assisting with seabird counts on the Inner Forth isles which inevitably provides plenty of photographic opportunities. Whenever I land on any of the islands, I marvel at nature’s ability to reclaim the landscape which was once occupied and dominated by human activity but since abandoned. Life in a summer seabird colony is all about breeding but it is a harsh existence with inclement weather and predation a constant threat. Birds seem to have found a way to overcome this by breeding in numbers to accommodate losses but traces of mortality are there to be seen through broken eggs and dead chicks. It’s simply how nature operates when mankind doesn’t interfere.

I enjoyed a moment on the Water of Leith with a pair of mallards who were protecting their one remaining duckling; presumably the others had all been predated. They never let their chick range too far away and ‘closed ranks’ when potential danger emerged but the duckling seemed oblivious to such attention and was happily following its mothers example by foraging in the shallows of the river. The future for the chick remains uncertain amongst the threats from corvids, gulls, foxes and mink but let’s hope it manages to make it through to adulthood. Perhaps our struggle against covid gives us a glimpse into the challenges faced by newly born wild animals...