Sunday 27 March 2011

A flash of colour...

I spent Friday morning over at our local RSPB reserve watching the kingfishers. There are currently a pair of them over there investigating the available accommodation with great interest, so we are all hopeful that they will breed again. It's a fantastic place just for a walk, with several options depending how far you feel you want to go, and lots of different hides with different species of birds to watch - and from nearly all of them you can occasionally see a brilliant flash of bright blue passing through, yes, the kingfishers like to explore! At the moment though the Kingfisher hide itself is the place to be, and on Friday we were lucky enough to see behaviour like this:

And, possibly my favourite although technically not the greatest I know...

I have a mental note that next time I go I will take the tripod and 1.4x Teleconvertor and see what results I can get using those - on the 300mm F4 that little TC makes quite a difference, and I can still use the autofocus on the camera too, which helps.


Thursday 10 March 2011

Hebrides Countdown...

A shot from 2008 for you this time - in fact, I had a feeling I'd posted this before, but can't find it now so perhaps not!

This is the road out to Huisinis on Harris - someone on Flickr describes this as "12 miles of some of the most challenging single-track roads in the UK!" and I can't really disagree. This road is my Mum's worst nightmare - with blind summits, hairpin bends and sheer drops with no warning whatsoever. It also presents the very real prospect of meeting a bus coming round one of the corners as the village at the end is served by a regular service. I'm a pretty confident driver, and coped with this one OK, however, the one and only road I have EVER encountered that I flatly refuse to drive ever again is also on Harris - known as the Golden Road due to the high cost of building it, it is a truly terrifying prospect with far fewer passing places than you usually expect of Hebridean roads.

There is a lot less single-track now than when we first visited back in 2002 - then the main road from Berneray to Eriskay was single track for almost its entire length. Now, they are gradually changing the whole lot to "normal" roads - which whilst more practical (particularly when you find yourself leaving Lochmaddy just as the ferry has come in!) are far less characterful. Here and there the old road remains, as a footpath, or parking place for peat-cutting locals and dog walkers. In places you can even still drive on it although as it's no longer being maintained this won't apply for much longer.