ebirder is a small, specialist photography company run by Marcus Conway. He has been running photography tours since 2005 across the Scottish Highlands and Islands. In 2012 he was awarded Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year.

Eagle Photography On Mull – Trip Report 2014

October 20, 2014
Images from Eagle Photography On Mull tour are copyright of ebirder clients Fiona Govan, Liz Wheelans, Peter Duncan and John Boyd.

A most enjoyable and productive trip

Peter Duncan

With the forecast looking promising we kicked off our fourth “Eagles Only” tour of Mull with some welcome drinks and a meal in the local hotel/restaurant/pub. I could tell from the start that this group were going to trouble! Tongue Out

Over our meals and a couple of drinks we discussed some of the techniques involved and best places to stand on the boat for getting the best Eagle shots and got to know each other. There was a great camaraderie between the group and we were off to a good start. Whilst, The aim of the weekend is White Tailed Eagle photography we had some spare time to look for some other wildlife and after a quick discussion we decided to head out for Otters after breakfast (yes after breakfast – this is like being on holiday!).

After around an hour on the shore we had little to show for our efforts until the guide expertly picked up on an Otter feeding on the shore. Okay so that’s not how it happened. Peter picked out an Otter no more than 20 yards away whilst the guide was regaling dull stories about the flora and fauna of Mull! A couple of record shots in the bag I decided to 4×4 onto the beach – there was no chance of getting out to get closer. The Otter stayed in position and enabled us to grab some shots. Not perfect by any means but a great bonus.

The very best of wildlife tours run with style and friendliness by Marcus Conway. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and also came home with what I went for,some excellent shots. I also felt it was good value for money.

John Boyd

The Main Event – Eagle Photography On Mull
In all we witnessed nearly 20 Eagle dives from our time on the boat – 75% of these on our private charters. Everyone was certain with ten dives they would nail a shot.  The waters were calm, the light forgiving and we were set. Unfortunately by the time we arrived at the first site one of the party was green. The guide’s best intentions of offering an egg sandwich to ease the woe were not met favourable! However, when the Eagles arrived a recovery ensued and we were treated to the amazing spectacle of these colossal birds diving just meters from the boat.

Marcus as a guide was excellent, easy to get on with, informative, helpful and committed to us having the best experience throughout the tour which included taking each client’s needs into account

Fiona Govan

Conditions improved and over the next two days we witnessed a range of different dives in a range of conditions. The most exciting being a dive in a brief rain shower that was truly unique. The results speak for themselves. 

The company and banter over the weekend was great and it seemed like we had all known each other for years (or maybe it just felt like it!) when we sat down for a farewell and celebratory meal. The good times flowed and promises were made (and kept!). Thanks to Peter, Fiona, Liz and John for a fab few days that will take some beating!

Thanks Marcus for a good weekend on Mull photographing white tailed eagles. 

Liz Wheelans

Find out more about our next trip


Outer Hebrides Photography Tour – trip report 2014

Images are copyright of ebirder clients; John and Angie Fielding, Ian Curran and Artur Stankiewicz

Outer Hebrides Photography Tour – client gallery of John Fielding

Its funny how some things work out. Having travelled to Mull and Shetland in May and early June I knew spring had been through quickly this year and when I arrived on the Outer Hebrides in mid June it was with some trepidation that we may be too late. I knew my clients were keen to get owls on the Outer Hebrides Photography Tour, but they also wanted to enjoy a fine supporting cast of breeding waders on the flowering machair as well as Corncrake and some passage summer plumage waders.

It was clear from arrival that the number of breeding waders was low. Mother Nature had not read the timetable. My heart sank a little. All was not lost. Indeed far from it. Over the next two weeks we were rewarded with some of the most amazing Short Eared Owl moments. Our timing was perfect!

Short Eared Owl Outer Hebrides

Short Eared Owl Photography steals the show.

On average we saw 24 Short Eared Owls each day and of these we photographed between 3 and 6. It was the mind blowing quality of the encounters that blew us all away. Short Eared Owl chicks were fledging from the key spots we had researched earlier in the year and this meant we were able to spend several hours at specific locations capturing unique images and all without disturbing the birds. We saw fledged Short Eared Owls being fed and squabbles between siblings and all within photographic range.

Having been guided expertly by Marcus on 5 previous tours, I thought it couldn’t get much better. I was wrong! The Outer Hebrides trip was a tour de force! Apart from the waders, harriers, corn buntings, golden eagle and stunning machair, we saw no less than 40 short eared owls! Many of these sightings were photographic opportunities, which resulted in a memorable set of images!
John Fielding

Indeed the action was so good by the latter stages of the tour we were choosy. We didn’t waste time on any owls over 100 metres away and focussed on the families we knew. Two in particular. A solo female with one fledgling (and one eye) and a group of four fledglings near a picturesque lochan. With our memories cards busting (some 3000 owl shots later) the weather improved and we captured images of fabulous waders such as Snipe, Ringed Plover. Dunlin, and Sandleing. Best of all many of these were in the spectacular flowers of the machir. You can see more images in the following places;

Artur’s website – to 30 or so stunning owl shots
John’s flickr page
Ian’s Birdfroum Gallery

If this trip report has whetted your appetite and you would like to join us in 2015 you can find more details on the Owl Photography Holiday on the Outer Hebrides tour page


White Tailed Eagle Photography Holiday – Getting Ready for Eagles!

August 25, 2014

We’re shortly heading back to Mull for the third time this year to run our White Tailed Eagle Photography Holiday. High on the list for this tour is White Tailed Eagle Photography and hopefully some good weather to go with it!

white tailed eagle photography MullIf you want a free guide on photographing White Tailed Eagles in Scotland take a look at our FREE online wildlife photography guides. The guides are specifically designed for bird and wildlife photographers looking to get the most out of a photography tour or holiday to Mull or Scotland in general.

We are adding tome more guides in conjunction with birdguides so if you have a specific target in mind please feel free to contact us.


Shetland Nature Photography Tour

20/06/2014

I recently travelled to Shetland on a Nature Photography Tour visiting many of the islands including Unst and Fetlar. One of the main highlights was photographing Red Necked Phalaropes on Fetlar. Having waited the best part of 40 hours by a roadside loch our reward finally arrived in perfect light. All the more special as there was no one else and the moment with these wee birds felt very intimate.

These birds proved to be (typically) tame and at many times were too close to focus. With the sun on my back and an obliging subject the long wait faded from the memory. Happy days.


Scottish Highland Bird Photography Tours, Wildlife Photography Guiding, Nature Photography Holiday in Shetland


Dotterel: Scottish Highland Bird Photography Tours in Spring

15/06/2014

With long summer days and wildlife active Spring is one of the best time to visits the Scottish Highlands – the hard part is knowing what of focus on! As a fervent lover of the high tops I find it hard not to head for the high tops in search of charming Dotterel. Often we come across Mountain Hare in their summer pelts as well as lots of Ptarmigan and the odd Snow Bunting. On our recent Scottish Highland Bird Photography Tours we were blessed with some great sunrises and to witness these in the majesty of the high plateau was something special.

It’s not just mountains that are on our radar. This is one of the best times for shooting owls with Short Eared Owl, Long Eared Owl ad Tawny Owl all conspicuous in recent weeks. The best place to look for owls has been out along the Laggan road where some days we have photographed all three species.

Well I’m off to Shetland for a few days and then onto the Outer Hebrides to hopefully photograph more owls and with luck hope to see some nice light again soon!


Scottish Highland Bird Photography Tours in Spring, Where to Photograph Dotterel, Scottish Nature Photography Holiday, Owl Photography


Bird photography tour of Mull – special year for Otters

29/05/2014

The bird photography tour of Mull 2014 will live long in the memory. Not only did we have a great group of clients to guide we also had some special wildlife encounters. Top of the list this year were Otters. The tone was set on the first morning when we enjoyed watching a family of three Otters playing in the kelp. Not only were we treated to this intimate interaction but we were close enough to get some nice images and hear the Otters calling to each other. As time progressed we probably totalled nearly 6 hours spent in the company of Otters often at ‘too close to focus’ range.

Of course we had the White Tailed Eagles too and a supporting cast including a pair of Cuckoo, Puffins, Great Northern Diver, Stonechat and Whinchat. We saw one Short Eared Owl but that was the only target we struggled to get decent pictures of… but you always need a reason to come back.

Thanks to Steve, Betty, Karen and Stewart (and the wildlife!) for your wonderful company.


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Wildife Photography Workshops in Scotland – All set for a busy spring

10/05/2014
We’re all set to head for Mull for our wildlife photography tour. With spring coming so early this year it will be interesting to see how thins are different. In truth every year is different and it is that variation that makes the tour so enjoyable. Every year White Tailed Eagles are one of the main highlights but it is the supporting cast on Mull that make it so special. Last year it was Corncrakes the year before Short Eared Owls. I can’t wait to get back to one of my favourite destinations to see what is about!


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BIO
ebirder is a small, specialist photography company run by Marcus Conway. He has been running photography tours since 2005 across the Scottish Highlands and Islands. In 2012 he was awarded Scottish Nature Photographer of the Year.
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