Adam Hough Photography

Adam Hough Photography

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Birding update 07/07/2016

Puffins last i have found them on Sanday , two groups one group of 23 and one group of 17, awesome little birds and so glad i have caught up with them. The Black Guillemot are doing really well and according to my diary i have now counted 48 active nests , and thats only part of the island so i hope to get out nd do some more counting soon. Other auks that are doing well on Sanday are Razorbill with a few chicks now being fed regularly.
Arctic terns are doing exceptionally well with over 5 sites and i estimate nearly 350 pairs !!!!!!!
Fulmars are still sitting tight on eggs and i hope to see some chicks soon as they near the end of their incubation. Gulls are doing well and are about to fledge all over the island .
The short eared owls have now got chicks and i hope when they fledge that i will get the chance to photograph them . I am still seeing Hen Harrier daily but i dont believe they have bred on Sanday and i think they are just young birds or failed breeders.
Otters are giving plenty of opportunities and I see them everywhere, I took a group of photographers to get up close with them and that we did ,  a mum and a cub stayed very close and played in the surf . The clients were very happy with their experience.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

birding 31/05/2016

So many birds so little time , so I will start with Short eared owls , have fond now three territories that are going well mating seen at two territories and one pair courting. So all is looking good for the shorties this year . Will keep you updated.
Arctic Skua are doing well I have a gorgeous pair that i witnessed mating and chasing off anything that moved in their field, One of the pair is a light bellied form and the other of the  pair is a dark bellied form so i will hopefully get photos of both.
Great skua are doing really well and you cant walk down a beach without one whizzing pass your head. Waders are now settling down on eggs and be careful around the Oystercatchers as they are starting to dive bomb people.
This beautiful bird is a black guillemot and are currently looking for nesting sites on the cliffs. I have started conting the shag colonies around the island and i am up to 63 pairs so far which is a great number :)

Sunday, 8 May 2016


We have had our first fledglings on Sanday , as i have mentioned in previous posts the Ravens start breeding early. They have now started leaving nests, I got to witness my first flight by a Raven which was very nerve racking as the nest is placed 50ft above the sea on a cliff. I thought i was going to shut my eyes at one point but the little Raven did a great job and manged to get back to the top of the cliff. Over the next couple weeks they will get stronger and fly further until they no longer rely on their parents for help.
Picture of one of the Raven fledglings.

 Lots of other birds are starting to display and breed , Eider and Black Guillemot are two that i have noticed lately are going at it like its valentines day.
Have seen more migrants with Hirundines such as Swallow , House martin  and Sand martin numbers  are increasing daily. Arctic Skua and terns numbers are also on the rise and i have seen dark bellied and light bellied forms of the Arctic Skua which is nice.
Hoping to get some shots of a Great Northern Diver this week who is currently moulting in to its adult plumage and looking stunning, so will bring you that as soon as i can.
On a floral note i have a good number of Primula scottica so will be taking photos of these Scottish Primrose this week as well.

Saturday, 30 April 2016


Another week another Raven nest found. 4 chicks all doing well. Found a few more shags preparing nests which was nice, also around 10 pairs of Razorbill now occupying sites on the cliffs. Still no Puffin found but its early days into the season so i have hope. Short eared owls are still showing superb in the gorgeous evening light i am staking out a hopeful nest site , fingers crossed. Great Skua are around more frequently and i witnessed one pass a Raven nest which sent the female Raven into an epic aerial battle that lasted over a few minutes. The Raven got help from its partner in the end which sent the Bonxie fleeing.
Have caught up with some large flocks of Turnstone and Sanderling in recent days, these birds are feeding hungrily on the flies that are found around the piles of kelp on the beaches. The Oystercatchers seem to be seperating and are now more often seen in pairs rather than groups so they will be on eggs soon. We have some strange weather lately with snow, hail, rain, and beautiful calm sunshine! Dont think the birds know what to do..... i certainly dont.
Have caught up with a lot of the resident otters lately and am starting to figure out their springtime movements, this has altered a lot to the winter months. After talking to Richard Shucksmith from Shetland last month , I think the Otters on Orkney are surprisingly a lot different to the Shetland Otters. Richard says the best time to see them is a couple hours before and after low tide. Here on Sanday i find this is high tide, the tides on the islands are different to Shetland as the heights of the tides are more dramatic . On the sandy low beaches the tide can go out half a mile to nearly a mile which means the otters would have to travel a lot more for food, when the tide comes in it will bring food to the Otter . I will keep all my records and see what summer and Autumn bring.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

birding update 26/04/2016

The days are drawing out and i am finding myself waking at 4am and going to bed at around 11pm most of the week. Bird action is increasing, i will start with the Ravens , there is a lot of news with proposed culls which i do not agree with. They are wanting to cull them because of their "vicious attacks on sheep" which i have seen no evidence of. Anyway Ravens start nesting really early and birds in Sanday were preparing nests in January . As we speak i am watching 5 nests with young of various ages from a week to 4 and a half weeks . Some are tiny and helpless and some are about to fledge . I was worried about a cliff nesting pair yesterday with winds of 70/80 kmph i set off at 7pm to go and have a look . As always dad was on his perch and mum was further down the cliff. All four young were absolutely fine so i left and kept watch of a pair of Great skua doing the rounds.
Hen Harrier are doing really well in Orkney and 3 individuals a male and  ringtail are a common sight on Sanday , i am hoping they nest but not seen much activity of this , although there was a fair bit of chasing from the two ringtails last week. I see them daily and it is such an honour. Short eared owls are everywhere it seems with at least 5 individuals still on Sanday , they love a nice hot day , i watch them hunting the shores on a calm day ......

Took this short yesterday evening in the last light of day . The cliffs are really starting to fill up with breeding birds, have seen a lot of kittiwakes with a couple on the cliffs but no concrete evidence yet they are going to breed here. Razorbills are starting to frequent the cliffs a lot so hoping to update you soon on these. Puffins i have seen offshore for a couple of weeks and have a tip -off on a location  that may sound promising. Shags are early breeders and in two colonies we have three pairs now on eggs and lots of mating and pairing so fingers crossed for a good season, they had quite a bad winter with a lot of young individuals being found dead from the storms.
Migrants seem to be well and truly on the move with Arctic tern, Sandwich tern being most recent, Wheatears seem to be everywhere and i have had a lot of goldcrest in the garden.
A pair of Linnet are frequenting the garden lots so really hope they nest here , woul dlike some nice shots of these birds.
I will leave you with a shot from two days a go ......

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

What a busy time

As the colder weather settles it seems like the year is ageing to quick already. The April showers have arrived however we have had some absolutely beautiful sunny days. The birds are migrating and the spring time arrivals are becoming more frequent , this week alone i hve had Wheatear, Chiffchaff, Brambling, Goldcrest and Bullfinch all moving through the garden.
I am working on a really exciting project which i hope to bring to you in about a months time , fingers crossed it all goes well. I am going to need a lot of patience and dedication for this one. The days are getting longer and soon i will be photographing at all peculiar times of day and night , the best light will be about 10.30 pm and 3.00 am. Going o be a long summer but i am looking forward to all the new challenges. I leave you with some more recent images .......

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Fulmar update

I think this blog will turn in to a blog focusing solely on Fulmar. I promise it wont but for now here are some more shots.......

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

blog exclusive Its owly good!!!

 Short eared owls have always been at the top of my 'to get nice shots of ' category and  have found an awesome spot which over the next few weeks i intend to hit quite hard . I really like these shots but know i can always improve . They are fascinating birds and truly are a daylight ghost.

Monday, 7 March 2016

new Aurora shots from last night 06/03

 I was out last night but not for the Aurora ,  I was actually trying something new which was not going very well. As i turned round to go home i looked up and the sky was going electric crazy!! so from a disastrous night turned out to be pretty good.

Friday, 4 March 2016

The scenery of Sanday

 This island has some of the most amazing scenery in the world and i wanted to show you all.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Birding Update

Most days when i am out i will be looking for birds, ever since a young age whenever i am out be it in a car or walking i will look for birds. It makes me incredibly quiet to go on car journeys with! Orkney is a wonderful place for birding , a bad day is when i go out and i don't see a Hen Harrier. I get them most days passing through my garden , along with a couple of hundred starling, a bird that in Bedfordshire and the rest of England is on the decline.

On Sanday the island i live on i have counted 2 male and 3 female Hen Harrier , these have been around since i came in december so fingers crossed they stay . I would love to see them dancing and displaying to each other .Short eared owls are one of my favourite birds to see slowly floating over the fields looking for Orkney voles and mice to devour. There is a good population of these daylight owls on the island too.

My favourite bird as i have mentioned in earlier posts is the Fulmar and there are plenty of them around Orkney. I went along a 100m piece of beach today and counted 24 pairs already occupying nest sites. They are really noisy birds when they are together always keeping in contact with one another , they remind me of an old married couple just nattering away. I guess when they have the same mate for life they are an old married couple.

A bird i would like to photograph more is the Shag they are smaller version of the Cormorant. They  are primarily fish eaters and are beautiful birds. I will soon have the ability to photograph adults in there stunning metallic green breeding plumage but for now here is a picture of a juvenile i took a few days ago.

Its amazing just looking at the bird life you can see the seasons changing , a lot of the winter visitors like the Whooper swans are starting to move on back to their breeding sites.  Other species such as Oystercatchers are growing in numbers which means they will soon be pairing up and breeding , spring is finally on its way.

Friday, 26 February 2016

partridge in a pear tree

Well they not in a pear tree but they are in my garden, almost everyday. So a perfect opportunity to get some nice images of these beautiful birds.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Flickers and Ploppers

Spending too much time with just my dog lately on wind swept beaches and vast mudflats the likes of  which wandering waders dream of. I take a notebook out with me so i can take details of my sightings and record weather conditions just to give me a better indicator of where to be and when in the future. I think staying in one place is a good move most times but every now and then i do move about to see what other areas have to offer me.
So there I sat Poppy by my side taking shelter from the wind as I stared pondering the names of birds I could see in front of me, Great Northern Diver , Black Guillemot, Cormorant, Shag and my very favourite bird the Fulmar. These names just don't do it for me in the fact they dont tell me much about the bird from afar , so i started calling these birds my own names, not the names that they are known by the Orcadians and Shetlanders like Tystie (guillemot) or Mallimack (fulmar). I chose to name them by how they act , the Diver would now be known as  Sub why because they are big and somehow just submerge underneath the waves like they let air out of their body with a valve. Absolutely amazing how they disappear and for a lengthy bit of time, the more astonishing thing about the Subs is how far they can cover under water. Unlike the Flicker which is my name for the Black Guillemot. The Flicker as its name suggests by a flick of the wrist (wing) it is gone on an underwater mission to destroy fish and crustacean alike. These names are for me to distinguish birds quickly from a distance because sometimes when the sea is choppy you will see the a second of bird fleeing to the depths and then it will be lost to the waves. Cormorant and shags have a very similar diving act and by far the most pronounced , these are the Ploppers. They energetically jump up their bum will be hanging in the air while the head and neck is arched in to the water followed by the body , bum and feet ....Plop.
More to come in whats in a name !

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Dog is loving the beaches

Have had so much fun taking the dog out and taking photos of her , she is so energetic and crazy. Border collies are known for their amazing abilities as working dogs and their intelligence and athletic abilities enable them to be amazing sheep dogs. I thought I would share some of my favourite shots of them.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

beach combing

Have had  a great few days, my parents are on the island to visit us and we are having a great time. Walks on the beach have been so much fun, the boys are getting good at looking for treasures. My dad not so good at looking much to our amusement.
Our dog is always with us and being a border collie will walk all day long , we had fun making the most of the sun and low tide. I love trying different things with my photography so decided i would get a photo of the shadows we were making.
The shot above shows just why the birdlife on thee island is so abundant , these worm casts went for miles. Tonnes of food for hungry mouths!!! My dad is a birdwatcher like myself and we have had a good couple of days 3 hen harriers on the first day along with merlin and peregrine . Short eared owl, slavonian grebe, black guillemot and snow buntings were also highlights.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Sunny weekend

It has been a beautifully sunny calm weekend, i managed to get out and about. Being the weekend the good thing  was i got to take out my boys as that is what these Islands are about. Luckily my boys love being outside so it was off to the beach we went.
Diving through the rock pools they went , we found everything you could wish for as a young child. As well as getting dirty in the pools of wonder we did some bird watching as well. Highlights were large flocks of Purple Sandpiper, Sanderling and Bar-tailed godwit.
It was a great weekend and the week is looking sunny so don't forget to watch out for my next blog.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Fulmar already thinking about breeding

The Fulmar in the Orkneys and around the rest of the UK are already thinking about nesting, way to early but the males are returning to nest sites to proclaim them. The best nest site the more guaranteed the goods. They are such gentle birds and when you watch them with each other you can sense the tenderness.

Monday, 1 February 2016

windy weekend

So it turned into a windy weekend and carries on into Monday which is fine, getting out with my camera all that often was getting boring . Obviously i am joking i hate being stuck in the house but i had a great time  with my wife and three boys, i also got some more decorating done. This is good as i am excited to have my parents coming to stay with me in two weeks. I will be going out today in pursuit of big waves which will be fun as the winds gust at 90 mph and sleet will probably be driving into my ears but it will be exciting!

 So just before the weekend i was having a lovely time with the local otter , she surprised me at the end of the day , as she got tired from all the eating she jumped up on to a rock wall had a sniff and crashed out . It was a tiny ledge and every time a wave came in i thought she was going to be swept away . No idea how she managed to get any sleep. 

Friday, 29 January 2016

Windy day

The highest wind speed today the 29/01 has been 94mph with the average hovering about 55mph , so it is an indoor day. The children are off school so I am catching up on my blog. So i have been focusing all my attention on one area which is slowly paying off , i an getting to know the animals and more importantly the animals are getting accustomed to me. This is important as they will let me get closer if they trust me.

This female otter is becoming really confiding and i have found out from locals she has been in the area for a couple years , my hope is she stays around.
Along the same beach i found a Red Throated Diver which are common in summer but not winter. It must be good fishing in the bay as there were around 6 grey seals feeding as well . While I was with the otter a male also visited but only hung around for half an hour , possibly an old cub or the love interest of the female otter i have been following , i will keep you updated as i find out. 

Friday, 22 January 2016

more aurora

Was such a different sight this time round , still as amazing and the moon was really bright so i could get some more foreground into the shot. i decided to go to one of our favourite beaches , Whitemill bay . The contrast of the white sand is quite nice i think.

Whale of a day

A couple of weeks a go i had the pleasure to be asked to go and take samples of a whale that had washed up on a nearby island . It sounds weird to say pleasure however this whale was huge, 42ft 8 inch of Fin Whale and i was in awe , the whale was believed to be 2/3 yrs old which is still a baby it cold be twice this size when adult. The samples taken will hopefully help to understand why these whales are washed up.
A couple photos of the whale......