Happy birthday to us!

Today marks A9Birds' first birthday.  It’s been an exciting and fun year, and even the technically boring bits like admin and tax returns have been interesting to do for our venture.  A big thank you must go to all of those who have supported us through the past twelve months, most of all our great customers.  The Data Protection Act probably won’t let me mention them all by name (you know who you are, as the saying goes), but I can thank the friends of A9Birds for their various supporting acts and ‘wise words’ - Roy Dennis MBE of the Highland Foundation for Wildlife, Gordon & David Macleod of Aviemore Ospreys, Carol & David Shaw, Dave Slater of Birding Ecosse, Andy Smith, Jude and Steve Simms of Hellygog (the great little gallery which became the first to sell our images), Steve Hopper of Wild Skye Boat Trips, Philip Hardwick, Hilary Rolton, Gill Howie plus the owners of all of our affiliated B&Bs and guesthouses - see our website for details when planning your stay in our beautiful part of the world.   Last but not least comes a special thank you to my darling wife Karen for her support, not least in her role as A9Birds’ head chef - those of you who have enjoyed her soup, frittatas, scones, flapjacks and cookies know how good they all are!

To mark the occasion, we’re looking forward to kicking off our Autumn/Winter lecture programme tomorrow night with a talk to the RAF Lossiemouth Camera Club - get in touch if a group you belong to would like to hear about birds, photography and a lot more!

RIP wee fella

Black-throated Diver female with her chick in late July

As those of you who follow our Facebook page will know, the Black-throated Diver chick that was raised on Lochindorb this spring/summer has died.  A good friend raised the alarm on 3 August, having seen the bird caught with fishing line in some weeds, with two SSPCA officers taking a boat out to the bird.  Although cutting it free of the undergrowth, they realised the anchor point on the bird was actually a fish hook stuck in its gullet so they took the chick to the SSPCA’s rescue centre near Alloa.  An operation removed the hook, but the amount of infected tissue around the wound was too great and the bird died on 12 August.  This was incredibly sad, having had high hopes that 2015 would be a good one for this BTD pair.  As a result however, there is a multi-pronged approach by a few of us to try and make 2016 safer through the use of signs (advising anglers, canoeists and reckless viewers who stray far too close to the water’s edge to see or photograph the birds), along with other measures such as making the loch fly fishing-only.  Wish us - and the birds - luck for next year.

End of days

Sat at Findhorn Bay yesterday afternoon as the high tide shifted the various wader flocks around, I watched and listened to the three Ospreys that were gracing the bay.  I’ve written a lot about these birds in my previous blogs - my most favourite of all - and have enjoyed immensely living alongside them since their arrival in April.  Through August, I continued to see family groups moving about with the young gaining confidence by ranging further from the nest.  At one point it did strike me that it wouldn’t be long before they would part, almost certainly forever, and I felt a hint of melancholy.  I mentioned this to my friend Bruce (whilst we were sat photographing Ospreys, as it happened) and he gave me what I’d describe as a ‘black and white’ look - “You’re anthropomorphising,” he said - a bold word for 6 o’clock in the morning “…bring it back in to yourself.”  And he was right - I was applying a human feeling on birds that feel no such thing.  Yes, the young of any species rely on their parents to keep them warm, provide safety and of course supply nourishment, but any feelings attached with that exist in very few species on the planet.  So, one got a grip of oneself and carried on!
Osprey on the hunt

The last Ospreys will be gone from our skies within the month - unless there are some exceptional stragglers, of course - and this birdwatcher will miss them.  But it’s all part of the turning of the year, and there’s enough delights to be had in the coming weeks such as waders gathering on the coasts in greater numbers and variance of species, migrants move in earnest over land and sea, and young Golden Eagles start to wander - why not come and share the vista with us?

Happy birding!


A9Birds is a birdwatching and wildlife photography company based in Moray, covering the local area including Strathspey, the Moray Firth and Inverness-shire.  Please see our website for details of what we can offer you, and why not keep up to date with our sightings and photos on our Facebook page.  All photos on this page are copyright Mike Crutch/A9Birds.


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