There’s an island called Carna, off the Ardnamurchan peninsula in Western Scotland which is devoid of technology and almost anything else for that matter – no roads and only three houses. We spent a week there last week and had a boat for transport. My mission was to photograph as much of the wildlife as I could find. Carna has a reputation for wildlife but in reality, much of it is passing through or seasonal, so what I found was a little less than what I expected.
Nevertheless, there was a nice selection of smaller birds – redpolls, wrens, chaffinches, song thrushes, dunnocks, willow warblers, robins, meadow and rock pipits, a calling cuckoo and more. A buzzard made an occasional appearance from the mainland and the loch islands were home to great black backed gulls, common gulls, oyster catchers and common terns. On the final day, we boated to the neighbouring island of Oronsay where a white-tailed eagle flew over pursued by gulls.
But everyone wants to see an otter and we were assured there were otters that visited the pontoon every night. My camera trap caught three on the pontoon during the night and I regularly saw one or two hunting in the bay during the day.
(Stop Press: on such places as Carna, watch out for deer ticks. It seems I was bitten, although I didn’t know it at the time. A short time after returning I developed a ‘target lesion’, the typical lyme disease sign of infection which requires immediate antibiotics to prevent serious illness. I seem to be ok now, thanks to my wife’s insistence that I go to the doctor and, subsequently, our self diagnosis.)
We then had a further week on Ardnamurchan in a cottage where pine martens visit and where there was a nice selection of garden birds at the feeder. The common denominators of Carna and the peninsula are midges and rain but we had some beautiful days to compensate and the Ardnamurchan scenery is wonderful. We had a glimpse of a retreating golden eagle, amazing scones and tea at the Kilchoan kirk, beaches that could grace the Caribbean and a couple of otter sightings from the car.
A great trip!