Guest blog- Wildlife and Photography

From time to time we will be asking our guests to write a post for our blog following their stay with us. This is a wonderful post from a first time visitor to Kingairloch, as you can see,  they will be making a return visit in the not too distant future!

“Having submitted a few landscape images to Kingairloch Facebook page I was asked whether I would say a few words regarding my recent visit and the photo opportunities that presented themselves.

I am an amateur photographer (still very much honing my photographic techniques). My passion is Nature photography and I was keen to see and capture the variety of wildlife the estate has to offer.

Our stay at Kingairloch was from 17/02/2018 to 24/02/2018, at The Steadings. This was my first stay but I was lucky enough to be staying with my brother and sister in law who have been regular visitors to the estate over at least a decade and had given me some good knowledge beforehand.

So what can you expect to see?

Deer…lots and lots of deer. Cold weather and snow had driven the stags and hinds down from the mountains and they were literally all over, hardly surprising given the business of the estate.

A magnificent red stag

Red stags are seen throughout the estate

However, also seen during our visit were, Pine Martens, Golden eagles, Buzzards, Wild Goats, Otters and a variety of wild birds including Woodcock, Curlew, Great Northern Diver, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Stonechat, Chaffinch, Pipits (Meadow or Rock), Little Ringed Plover,Turnstones, Goosander and Goldeneye Duck.

We were lucky that Pine Marten visited The Steadings everynight, coming to the window by the TV, lured in by peanut butter, strawberry jam, peanuts and raw egg. Visits ranged between 9pm to 0115am. I am told by those in the know that they can also been seen in the area of the Church and Elastic Cottage.A pine marten visits The Steadings

A pine marten pays a visit to The Steadings

We regularly saw Golden Eagles, flying several times through Glengalmadale and across the fields at the front of The Steadings. The Eagle was chased off on one occasion by 3 Buzzards. However these magnificent creatures are very people conscious and tend to fly at height, often out of camera range.

A golden eagle soaring above Kingairloch

The one animal I was keen to try and get a good image of was the Otter. I have had been very lucky to have a had a brief glimpse of one previously but wanted a more intimate look at them.

I was lucky enough on the Thursday of our visit to find one fishing. This was in the gap between the boundary wall of the B8043, bordering Loch Linnhe as you walk the road road towards Kilmalieu. Timing moving between the dives of the otter I was able to clamber down onto the rocks and to within 5 meters of where the otter was coming back to dry land. I spent nearly an hour watching what her (I believe it was a Sow) catch, swim back to shore and immediately go back out to fish again. I am convinced that she was feeding kits but never got to see these. Perhaps I will fall lucky next visit.

Feeding otter seen on the shore near Kingairloch

Feeding otter seen on the shore near Kingairloch

 

Feeding otter seen on the shore near Kingairloch

Three fantastic photos of the feeding otter seen along the coast road

This stretch of road and the beach area in front of the Church ended up as the regular walk I took to see wildlife. A walk of no more than 1 mile to 1.5 miles in either direction brought me into contact with all the wildlife I have mentioned.

My photography kit comprises a Nikon D500 camera body and a variety of lenses from 24mm wide angle, 80mm portrait, 150mm macro and my longest lens, a Nikon 200-500mm zoom lens. In honesty a good travel lens, say a 50-300mm lens would be more than ample for most of the photo opportunities that presented themselves. The Eagles however presented the most difficulty and I came away with nothing more than distant shots barely suitable for identification. Visitors with the newer bridge cameras with long telescopic zoom (something like the Nikon P900 or equivalent) or bird spotting scopes with camera attachments (digiscopes) would without doubt have much better results and have walked away with images to treasure. Alternatively the inclusion of an extender in your kit bag is a must. I will have one in my bag next visit.

The week sadly ended all to quickly. Arriving back home I realise that I still have many photos I want to take of the estate and its natural inhabitants. However, I know without question that I will be back, a little wiser as to what to expect and perhaps a little better prepared but without question still in awe of the natural beauty of the estate and its wild inhabitants.”

Along the Kingairloch shoreline

Taking a walk along the shoreline, who know what you will find…….until next time!

We hope you have enjoyed reading this guest blog post, if you would like to write an article following either a stay or visit to Kingairloch, please do get in touch!