My last trip away just before the Covid outbreak was in February to the Highlands to photograph the Mountain Hare and Crested Tits.
Since March and the emergence of the COVID-19 virus, due to my own personal circumstances, and no information on where COVID-19 would take us, and my belief that everybody working on the frontline deserves to be protected, I made the choice that I would not do anything that would put others or myself at risk, and therefore I was not able to go out photographing like I did pre-COVID, and only to places where we would be alone.
This, of course, has had a negative impact on my business,
From March to June most of my time was spent making COVID-19 visors.
Very early on in the pandemic, some of Scotland’s care homes and vulnerable did not have enough and/or appropriate PPE. As a result my husband and I bought a 3D printer and acetate and started to make and donate visors to local care homes. It became clear that it was worse than we had thought, so we set up a “GoFundMe” page to raise money to allow us to make and donate more.
I spent the small amount of spare time I had, photographing birds in the garden.
These Magpie and Jackdaw photos were taken then and as much as I love Corvid’s,
I do get frustrated with them in the garden sometimes, as they seem to stop at nothing to get all the food I put out, even the feeders which are supposed to be accessible only to the wee birds.
They knock them down, bite the lids off, or just swing them back and forth until the food drops out. It has been documented for years that birds of the Corvid family, which also includes Ravens, Rooks, Jay’s and others are very clever.
Picture below: one of my Robins, who live in the garden.
My daily walk is what kept me sane and, of course, I always had a camera with me. I had forgotten how many rabbits we have locally. The babies are so adorable.
As the full lockdown ended, we were allowed to go as far as 5 miles locally.
We started walking on a local golf course very early, and often saw Roe deer.
I was very happy with this photo below. The scene was perfect, the deer was surrounded by wildflowers with the blurred forest in the background.
We also walked at another local park and found that the Cygnets, and baby Grebes and Tufties, had recently arrived.
There were 8 Cygnets and the Swans who must be so used to people and were very laid back.
They were not bothered by me photographing them at all.
It was a bit harder with the Tufted ducks, who were being moved on the whole time by an over protective Little Grebe and her Grebeling.
The Tuftie started out with 6 chicks and I think only had one by the end.
There was also a Moorhen with a chick who wisely stayed out of the Grebe’s way.
We spent some of our time on another local golf course where there must have been tens, if not hundreds of very hungry Starlings.
Below are some of my favourite photos
This one below was featured in a number of newspapers.
I also photographed some Sedge Warblers, a White throat baby
and my very first Chiff chaff.
During August, we discovered that the Red Squirrels we have in our local area have spread even further and there is a growing population within walking distance, but they were competing with the Greys for food, so following some research we decided to design and make some Squirrel feeders which are accessible to Reds but not to Greys.
We now fill up the feeders regularly and monitor them and have found that the numbers of Red Squirrels using it have increased, we have made more and given them to a local park wanting to encourage the Red Squirrels.
After the lock down was lifted, during the late summer and Autumn months, with the Covid levels going down, we decided to go a bit further afield for the first time. Our first trip was up to the Perthshire Glens, where the heather was in full bloom. There were plenty of Red Grouse around and the light was perfect.
With the COVID-19 levels falling even further and a lot of the restrictions having been lifted, we decided to book to go to a hide.
We wanted it to be fairly local, as we did not think it was wise to travel too far or spend a night in a B&B.
This was our first trip to a hide since December 2019.
We chose Penny hedge which we have been to many times before.
Mark and Sue Johnson are always wonderful hosts and went out of their way to ensure COVID-19 safety etc. It was brilliant. Red Squirrel and bird heaven.
We went back again a couple of weeks later.