Sunday, 15 September 2013

Wildlife in the Wind and Rain

The change from summer to autumn has not been subtle this year. Over the course of the last week we've gone from warm, sunny summery days to ... well, today! As always, please click on the images to see them properly.

I can't imagine why no-one was sitting on that bench...

Still, bad weather can make for some cool conditions to take photographs in. A lot of wildlife won't come out when the weather is really bad, but one of the nice things about photographing coastal and marine wildlife is that a little bit of wind and rain doesn't tend to faze them very much!

Breaking waves hammering the seawall at Troon.

So despite the forecast, today we headed south of Glasgow to check out the beaches at Troon (one of my regular spots), Irvine and Ardrossan and see what we could spot. The tides shouldn't have been that great for getting close to the birds (it was low water around lunchtime), but the horrible weather had forced plenty of them high up the shore so we had some nice opportunities. Along the shore we had turnstones and redshanks:

Turnstone on the beach at Troon

Redshank on the shore

I was hoping to find eider ducks sheltering from the weather at the harbour, but they were apparently elsewhere today. There were eight grey seals hanging around though:

Grey seals in the fishing harbour

Of course, it was at this point in proceedings that my trusty 7D + 300mm F4L + 1.4x T.C. combination reached the limits of its weather-sealing abilities and stopped working. No screen, no autofocus, no buttons... Oops. Fortunately a towel dry and a few minutes on the car heater seemed to fix it so hopefully there's no lasting damage. At least it was freshwater for a change too! Of course, that wasn't the only thing I did to the camera today...

After Troon we headed further up the coast to Irvine just in time for the sun to break through for a few minutes.

The beach at Irvine

Having spotted a couple of eider ducks, I decided to test my new walking shoes and climb down the seawall to get down to the beach for a closer view. Neither the boots nor the photo worked particularly well unfortunately and I have a couple of rather large new dents in the camera (and my arm). It still works though, so happy days!

Another couple of war wounds to add to the collection. I suspect I'll never, ever be able to sell this camera second hand. Ever. 

The eider duck photos turned out to be pretty boring in the end, but fortunately a curlew came to the rescue and stood in the sea spray and sunshine for a little while:

A curlew in the waves

After this set I decided I'd left enough blood and camera metal on the shore at Irvine for one day and we headed back to Glasgow via Ardrossan and Largs past some more promising looking beaches which I will check out next time I have a free day.

So all in all it was a pretty successful day out really! Nothing broken, nothing (very) flooded and a few decent photos to show for it. I might wrap the camera in a plastic bag next time right enough.