Decided to go on a quick holiday to the Highlands; it was a fairly last minute decision but I hoped to do some skiing, walking, visit family and photograph red squirrels, ptarmigan, mountain hare, red deer and reindeer. I managed all but the last 3 and that was due to the fact that almost a metre of snow fell on the day I arrived meaning they were inaccessible! I had planned my stay so as to have a good chance of photographing both the conjunction of Mercury and Jupiter (smallest and largest planets in our solar system) and the larget full Moon in almost two decades – quite a long list of objectives for a week; which explains why it’s taken me a while to get through the few thousand images I took whilst away!
The heavy snowfall on the day I arrived meant I had to change my accommodation and also made for an interesting first day photographing red squirrels – it snowed quite a bit more during that day, which was perfect as it provided an opportunity I hadn’t dared hope for – red squirrels in falling snow; hope you like them and I’ll put full set of images over on Austin Taylor Photography soon. Whilst out that day I also caught a few birds but added quite a few more over the next few days including long-tailed tit, snow bunting, siskin, greenfinch, great spotted woodpecker and pheasant, to name a few. Unfortunately no images of bearded tit, though I heard them and saw a few flitting about at dusk one day in Glenmore Forest.
I was lucky with the weather for my astronomical targets too, I had clear skies on the nights of the planetary conjunction and was lucky with the huge full moon; after being cloudy all day the skies cleared (painfully slowly) just before midnight to reveal the full moon.
Finally, I had a day and a half skiing and a good morning’s walk into the Northern Corries, carefully tracing the path crunched in by mountaineers before me for, either side, the snow was waist deep! That day’s walk was made all the more splendid by the wall-to-wall blue sky and sunshine though I was disappointed to see only the tracks in the snow of mountain hare and ptarmigan. Although I didn’t see any mountain hare I was lucky enough to see a pair of ptarmigan the following day whilst skiing and was able to catch a couple of “record shots” to add to my haul of holiday snaps. Overall a great week with a higher degree of success than I perhaps deserved given that I had done hardly any planning ahead!