Thursday, 5 May 2011

Watch this space

Watch this space for our Expedition Ardnamurchan documentary, coming in the next few weeks.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Earlier today Cain and Steve headed back over to the Sanna Bay area in order to gain some more footage of the stunning white beaches, with the Inner Hebrides as a back drop. They were also pleased to have good views of two Cuckoos chasing each other in flight on the way back to Portuarik. 

Ciara went down to the beach hoping to film some hermit crabs and Cain tagged along. We found no hermit crabs but noticed a shore crab sitting on the rocks. Ciara managed to get some footage of it before it scurried into the rock pool.

At the end of the day Steve really wanted a group picture so we all trotted to the beach. After about 50 attempts Steve whipped out his comb and brushed his hair, definitely the highlight of the expedition. However the resulting picture was the most natural and successful shot of the shoot, completely planned of course. Its a trick often played by many portrait photographers, throw the group a curve ball and capture their resultant reaction.  

This is our last day and so this will be our last post. We will update this page should the search for our final goal of seeing a wildcat this evening be successful, we hope so. And so the expedition ends.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Today Cain picked Ewan up again from the Kilchoan ferry, joined by Ciara and Steve they began the long journey up Ben Hiant, Ardnamurchan's highest summit, in the hope of seeing a Golden Eagle. Although the expedition members didn't get a glimpse of an eagle they were rewarded with stunning views of the Ardnamurchan peninsula, Isle of Mull and the Inner Hebrides. 

While Cain, Ciara and Steve ventured up Ben Hiant, Rachael decided to stay back and wander around closer to the campsite. This walk didn't last long as she met a woman called Sarah. Rachael spent her whole afternoon on this woman's patio drinking tea, watching out for voles and shrews and talking about life.


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Back ...

Here is a post to update you now we have now regained internet access.

Day 8- We arrived at the camp site mid morning and pitched up to the sounds of sedge warblers scratching away from the bushes and a cuckoo calling somewhere from the rocky hillside behind us. The campsite is right next to the beach so every morning we wake to the sound of the tide. After pitching up we went for a walk to check the ferry time tables.

Day 9- The group woke to the sound of rain that confined us to our tents for the morning. As the afternoon dried up and the sun came out we decided to visit Ardnamurchan light house, the most westerly point on mainland Britain.

Day 10- Cain met Ewan and the group headed back to the light house area, this time to explore the headland and beaches for common seal and the still elusive otter.

Day 11- Today we were sheduled for the whale watching 7 hr boat trip. Cain, Ciara & Rachael found Steve running up to the car moments before we were due to leave for the 8 o clock ferry who arrived more by the grace of extreme good fortune than planned timing. He had been filming 3 otters feeding far down the beach and had only just returned by the skin of his teeth so to speak. Highlights of the boat trip included... Great Skua flying low over the boat, good views of White-tailed eagle, multiple harbour porpoise and rafts of Manx shearwater.

Today the expedition members ventured back to the Common/Harbour Seals at the lighthouse, in order to gain more footage and stills of these curious animals. Cain and Rachael headed down to the rocks, no more than 4-5 metres away from the resting and swimming Seals, whilst Steve and Ciara explored the headland. A good amount of fooatage was gained, and a Guiellmot feeding in the same area provide some great entertainment.

Manx shearwater taken from the side of the boat.

Common seal hauled out on the rocks near Ardnamurchan Lighthouse

Cain in scout pose looking out to sea along with Ewan and Ciara

Ciara & Rachael videoing the seals from the headlands

Soaking up the sun
The search for otters led us to this area

Friday, 22 April 2011

Last day at the cottage...

Today Cain spent a few hours in the hide filming the tide submerge the salt-marsh, unfortunately it was a small tide today so it wasn't ideal. Mid-morning saw him back out, this time filming the Heronry just down the road, and the daily activities of the Herons, moving from nest to feeding grounds. Other birds caught his attention such as the Common Buzzard, Hooded Crow and Raven, all in the vicinity of the cottage. By mid afternoon he had ventured further, onto Eilean Mor the peninsula directly in front of the cottage, here he saw Rock Pipit, White and Pied Wagtail, Herring Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Hooded Crow, Raven, and also added a Black Guillemot to the list. As a Shag past close by the need to change lenses became apparent, just as he took his first step with the 100-400mm lens he spotted a Otter, feeding not too far ahead in a small bay, the Otter was aware of his presence but undeterred and continued fishing for another 20 minutes.

On his return to the cottage Cain notified Ciara, Rachael and Steve about his otter sighting. Filled with excitement they all returned to the spot where it had been fishing. We discovered many signs that indicated otters were frequent in the area, such as spraints, crab remains and runs. We sat for a while on the rocks, hoping for a glimpse but another mammal literally popped up and surprised us. A common seal. Curiously staring at us, it would dive underwater and then reappear somewhere else. We ran along the rocks trying to stay within sight of it. Cain got some footage of its head bobbing about in the waves and we also got some pictures.

We paid a last visit to the Natural History Centre in the morning to check on the pine marten live den footage and heronry live camera.
 The highland cows had retired to their island for the entire day today content their mischievous deeds against Cain's hide could wait for another day.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Fort William

Today the expedition members travelled back to civilisation, in the form of Fort William, to stock up on food for the coming weeks camping. We didn't collect any footage or stills today, but we did manage to stop off at the wildlife hide overlooking Loch Sunart, a number of Common Seal were present and a White-Tailed Eagle flew overhead.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Day 5…

The intention of filming a few ideas that had been thought about the day before was originally on the cards for this morning. Instead, as the day presented a bright but grey appearance, Steve decided to make a change of plan and practice a few slow shutter speed shots at the river a short walk from the cottage. 

Cain, Rachael and Ciara went on a nice long 5 hour walk up the river to a Loch. Some parts were quite challenging to walk through, due to slippery rocks, strong currents and deep pools. There were some beautiful waterfalls on the way as well as large amounts of ticks which weren't a welcome sight! When we eventually reached the Loch we were surprised at how calm and quiet it was, Cain had anticipated seeing some red throated divers but apart from a few fish jumping the Loch was very still. 

Cain's 7D only seemed to have 10 seconds on the self-timer, so what at first seemed like a good idea, became an uphill challenge for Cain, literally. The first three attempts can be seen below.

Cain spent another couple of hours in the hide tonight filming the Grey Herons, two birds were present along with a White Wagtail, and the lone calling Corncrake. On his return a second Pine Marten made a visit to the cottage at roughly 22:25, this individual showed less coverage of dark fur on the face and seemed to be slightly smaller.