I've just finished a year as Artist in Residence for Scottish Natural Heritage at their Taynish reserve in Argyll. I wanted to post a few pictures from the final exhibition, to show the variety of wildlife in this west coast wilderness.
In Spring, both frogs and toads are common in the lochans, on the paths, and even in puddles. I move them carefully out of danger, and take the opportunity for a close-up view. I have had just as much pleasure discovering the tiny inhabitants of the reserve, as from seeing the larger mammals like deer or red squirrels.
Little grebes, also known as Dabchicks, move from the sea-lochans onto fresh water to breed. In summer I heard their high wickering call, but they never let me approach very close. They were diving for small fish to feed their chicks, whilst damselflies skimmed above the waterlilies.
In autumn, the north wind brings Scandinavian raiders to plunder the berries of the rowan trees. It only takes a few days for these fieldfares to strip the trees of their fruit, before they move on south.
Bands of long-tailed tits move through the winter tree-tops, calling to each other to maintain contact. These tiny birds have little in the way of fat reserves, and so must search for a constant supply of insect food. During the cold nights they all huddle together in a ball to keep warm.
An exhibition of all the pictures from my year at the reserve will be at the Archway gallery in Lochgilphead in May, and will then travel to the SNH headquarters at Battleby later in the year.