Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Foggy day in Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve

I'm not going to lie, yesterday's trip to the Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve (NNR) wasn't exactly the most successful photographic outing I've ever been on! On what was otherwise a beautifully hot and sunny Easter Monday for the vast majority of the UK, it would appear that the North Sea had other ideas...

The forest edge shrouded in fog was cool and slightly eerie!
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By the time I got to the Firth of Tay, it was clear that the North Sea was producing one of its characteristic haars. But, it was fairly light cloud and so I figured it would burn off soon enough as the sun got stronger through the afternoon. The NNR isn't very well signposted from the road so it did take a while to find the place, but I eventually arrived at Tentsmuir Forest (there's a £2 car park fee if you're planning on visiting).

British beach holidays are traditionally a slightly grim affair.
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The fog was far thicker by the coast, and gave the forest edge a cool, "Game of Thrones" type atmosphere. I still thought it would probably dissipate pretty quickly though, so I set off, following another intrepid British family who were obviously not going to let some inconvenient weather ruin their bank holiday at the beach.

A pool near the edge of Tayport Heath NNR. I'm sure the North Sea was behind it somewhere...
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I headed north into the haar and walked up the sandy coast for about 3 miles.

Still foggy! It was pretty cool though.
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The fog didn't burn off.

Ringed plovers scooted by a couple of times while they were foraging at the top of the shore.
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I THINK that this might be a skylark. Can anyone confirm the ID for me?

As you might expect, I didn't see too much in the way of wildlife! A couple of ringed plovers dashed by as they foraged along the strandline, and there were small birds darting around the dunes that I think might have been skylarks. If anyone can confirm the ID from the photo above, it would be much appreciated!

The weather was lovely 200 m from the shore!

After I gave up on the coast, I walked the 2 miles back to my car through the forest. It turned out that the fog only extended about 200 m inshore though before giving way to beautiful sunshine... I tried not to take it personally! Still, although there were tons of songbirds in the trees the forest itself was a little too full of holidaymakers to really offer many photographic opportunities.

Despite the unlucky weather, the reserve was a lovely place to spend a day and isn't that far from Glasgow for a trip out. The information spots promised that the beaches are good seal haul-outs (for grey and harbour seals) and are good places to see flocks of wading birds and eider ducks. Maybe next time!