On a recent visit to Scotland I had the opportunity to spend a day with Andy Malcolm touring the Glenesk Valley. Glenesk is the longest and most easterly of the Angus Glens and sits on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park.
Armed with cameras, lenses and binoculars we set off in the Landrover to discover what Nature had to offer. I sat in the back of the Landcover so I could point my lens through the open windows either side of the vehicle. I had my 500 mm lens on my D4 and my 70-200 mm lens on my D500. However, I swapped the bodies over when I wanted a bit more reach from the D500 with the DX format.
Highland Cow near Glen Esk, Just before we arrived at the Folk Museum at Glen Esk I saw a herd of hIghland cattle in a field as we passed by. We had to stop and take a picture and fortunately the cow just sat and looked on. This is one of the most photogenic animals and has been on my 'wanted list' for some time.
Sheep near Glen Esk, A herd of sheep were grazing in the next field and a few looked up to see what was going on.
Red Squirrel near Glen Esk, This red squirrel as very skittish and it took sometime before I could get a good shot even with my 500 mm lens. However, the squirrel stopped for a few seconds to eat a nut and I got the shot.
Lapwing near Glen Esk This Lapwing came into view with the sun showing the iridescence glow from this bird. This shot was taken on my D500 with the 500 mm lens. I took this image with both the D500 and my D4, but the processing of the image from the D500 was better than the D4.
Woodcock near Glen Esk This Woodcock was positioned at the base of a tree and seemed unperturbed as we drove along. Fortunately, the Woodcock stayed still long enough to get the shot with my 500 mm lens and D500 body. Mother sheep with suckling lamb
Driving further into the Glen there were quiet a few sheep grazing on the rugged ground. This shot was taken on my D500 with the 500 mm lens 1/1000 sec at f7.1.
View over Heathlands near Glen Esk Looking over the loch from high ground in the Glen Esk Valley. Nikon D4 with a 70-200 VR lens at 95 mm 1/320 sec at f8.
Red Grouse in the heather near Glen Esk Red male grouse poses on a rock. This shot was taken on my Nikon D500 with the 500 mm lens 1/1600 sec at f4.5.
Female Wheatear with a gruber near Glen Esk Female Wheatear with a grub. This shot was taken on my Nikon D500 with the 500 mm lens 1/640 sec at f6.3.
Male Red Deer near Glen Esk This male red deer was part of an all male deer herd kept high up in the valley. This shot was taken on my Nikon D500 with the 500 mm lens 1/1250 sec at f5.
Herd of male Red Deer near Glen Esk Close up view of the red deer herd. This shot was taken on my Nikon D500 with the 500 mm lens 1/640 sec at f4.
Andy and Julia at Queen's Well Andy Malcolm and Julia at the 'Queen's Well' Glen Esk Valley. This shot was taken on my Nikon D4 with the 24-70 lens at 56 mm 1/60 sec at f8.
Queen's Well The 'Queen's Well' - Glenesk Valley. This was built over the site of a spring where Queen Victoria stopped on one of her pony treks in the Angus Glens. Nikon D4 with the 24-70 lens at 56 mm 1/60 sec at f8. Nikon D4 with the 24-70 lens at 42 mm 1/500 sec at f8.
View over Heathlands near Glen Esk Looking down the Glenesk Valley. Nikon D4 with the 24-70 lens at 70 mm 1/250 sec at f8.
Doune Water Falls at the end of the glen near Glen Esk Doune Water Falls near the end of the Glen. Nikon D4 with the 24-70 lens at 62 mm 1/2.5 sec at f11.
Equipment used: Nikon D4, Nikon D500, Nikkor 500mm f/4D AF-S IF-ED VR, Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E ED, Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S VR IF-ED Mk II, general accessories.
My thanks to Andy Malcolm for organising the tour into the Highlands. I have no doubt that we shall return as one day is not sufficient to see the wonders of Glen Esk and it's wildlife.
For information on the tours please contact Andy Malcolm at Glenesk Wildlife The tours run from 1st March 2017 – 31st July 2017.
Further images from the trip can be seen here on my gallery pages of British Nature Photography.