Creswell Bay, Somerset Island, Canadian Arctic  

16th-30th July 2016 

This summer I was very priveledged to be allowed to stay in a remote settlement on Inuit Benificiery Land at Creswell Bay, Somerset Island. The area has been used for hunting by local Inuits for generations and it is one of the most beautiful and fertile areas of the whole Canadian High Arctic. We were dropped off by Twin Otter chartered from Ken Borek Air in Resolute and had planned to be collected a fortnight later; unfortunately the Polar Bears became such a threat that we decided to leave a few days early. The settlement of three houses is located by the Union River which flows into the Bay from the Stanwell Fletcher Lake, it has one of the largest Arctic Char runs in the Canadian Arctic. The Bay also has a large population of Narwhal which appear in early August and also Beluga moulting in the shallow waters at the mouth of the Creswell River. The area is also a very good place to see Polar Bear where they have been witnessed catching Arctic Char in the shallows of the Union River. I was accompanied on this trip by my friend John Carswell who was agreat companion  and source of much knowledge on the region. I owe a special thanks to Nathaniel and Martha for letting us use their house and to David (a Polar Bear hunter) who accompanied us and looked after us. We saw some great wildlife including two Arctic Wolves in the settlement on the first night. I also found about six pairs of Ross's Geese breeding on nearby lakes which I think is a first for this lattitude.

 

Fireweed or River Beauty or willowherb (Chamerion latifolium)

Musk Ox (Ovibos moschatus)

Musk Ox (Ovibos muschatus)

Here is a selection of images of Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus). They are all somewhat unusual for me in that they were all taken from the window of our living room in our house! The Case bulldozer which was used to level the airstrip was driven by Nathaniel to Creswell Bay in winter across the ice, apparently it still works !

Tanquary Fiord, Ellesmere Island, Canadian Arctic

        1st-15th July 2016

 

  The Parks Canada Field Station located at the head of Tanquary Fiord is the main base for Quttinirpaaq National Park, Ellesmere Island. The MacDonald River is just to the north west of the Station.

 

 

Red Knot (Calidris canutus)

Red Knot (Calidris canutus)

Red Knot (Calidris canutus)

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)

Sanderling (Calidris alba)

 

Sanderling (Calidris alba)

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

Long-tailed Skua(Stercorarius longicaudus)

Arctic Hare (Lepus arcticus)

Arctic Hare (Lepus arcticus)

Arctic Hare (Lepus arcticus)

Arctic Hare (Lepus arcticus)

Arctic Hare (Lepus arcticus)

 

Musk Ox (Ovibos moschatus)

Musk Ox (Ovibos muschatus)

Musk Ox (Ovibos muschatus)

 

Resolute Bay, June 2016  

Sanderling (Calidris alba)

Sanderling (Calidris alba)

Sanderling (Calidris alba)

 

Sanderling (Calidris alba)      

   Bylot Island,Canadian Arctic

   9th June 2016

I was lucky to be able to hire a young local outfitter called Michael (he is actually the grandson of the legendry outfitter Charlie Enuaraq the current mayor of Pond Inlet) to take me across the ice to Bylot Island by snowmobile and quamutiik.

Like it or not hunting of Ringed Seals is still very common. Michael shot this Seal en route while it was resting on the ice next to it's breathing hole. The meat is most commonly used to feed the sled dogs.

Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca)

Walking on the wet tundra on Bylot at this time of year is very difficult and your feet sink at least six inches with every step. Bylot has one of the largest colonies of nesting Snow Geese but the birds were very difficult to approach and very nervous, I suspect from continually being shot at by local hunters! I did find a Snowy Owl's nest and managed to take a few record shots from a distance while the bird was  briefly off the nest. I also saw a pair of nesting Rough-legged Buzzards and a Sandhill Crane.

Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca)

Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca)

Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca)

 

Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca) 

Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus)

 

Floe Edge, Baffin Island, Arctic Canada

10th to 16th June 2016

 

Narwhal (Monodon monoceros)

Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus)

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

 

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

Ringed Seals (Pusa hispida) 

The Azores

  28th May to 4th June 2016

At the end of May and early June I spent a week in the Azores. Most of my time was spent on the beautiful  island of Flores in the far west of the archipelagao. Nearly all the Roseate tern colonies are on sea stacks  and are very inaccessible however I was lucky enough to be able to visit one colony on a small stack by boat at Ilheus da Alago. For this I have to thank CarlosToste a local wildlife photographer from Santa Cruz with a passion for the "Rosadas".

 

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

  

            Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

 

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

 

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

 

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

 

Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) all taken at Cabo da Praia

 

Kentish Plover (Charadrinus alexandrinus)

  

          Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)

 

Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii)

 

         Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii)

 

Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii)

Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii)

 

   Roseate Tern (Sterna dougallii)

Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii)

  

 

North Uist May 2016

I spent the first part of May up on my croft at Cheesebay in North Uist. Luckily the weather was very kind with some decent light and I managed to pick up a few images. They are a bit of a mixed bag and were all opportunist shots!

 Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus scoticus)

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)

 

Corn Bunting (Miliaria cinerea)

Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)

Redshank (Tringa totanus)

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

Little Tern (Sterna albifrons)