April saw the workshop season for me really take hold, with much of the month out with clients searching for the wildlife encounters they'd dreamed of. Of course, this isn't a Disney film, so reality deals a different hand each day, but the majority of days out saw rewards for my punters.
Otters are very much the favoured subject for workshops and after the struggles in March, this month was very much back to normal, and we enjoyed some cracking encounters.
What was very refreshing for me though, as a birds of prey fanboy, was the amount of workshops booked to look for them. After posting my images of the hen harriers skydancing and hunting in March, a new client contacted me asking if he could make a late booking to try to see them, as he'd traveled around the UK hoping for a decent image of a male hen harrier, but had sadly had no success.
He was in luck, and was left speechless after the first hour of the workshop, when we had a male quartering a meadow in front of us for nearly 45 minutes! Day two of his workshop saw him nail the shot of his dreams and left him lost for words again. We also enjoyed fantastic views of an otter later, and a sighting of a great northern diver whet his appetite for another workshop later in the month.
If a certain Danish lager company did workshops, this would certainly be up there. We started the day seeing a short-eared owl, and then continued it with a sensational otter encounter, and proceeded to see both species of eagles plus hen harriers. It was a golden day, and the smile on the young client's face (and his mum's) was priceless!
Around the time of my birthday saw Kate arrive for a week. She's visited us before and loves it here. That week saw a return to Iona for me, which was a first for her and understandably she thought it was just stunning. Another sunny day spent sitting on or strolling round the beaches of the small island.
Aside from unusual birthday "treats", we enjoyed a brilliant encounter with an otter. It was actually hilarious at one point, as the otter was hunting around a large boulder on the shore, and we couldn't see it at times. I kept glancing at Kate to see if she had a view, and spotted the otter sitting on a rock behind her, munching on a small crab, and she'd not realised it. I almost burst out laughing.
It also saw an unusual sighting of ospreys here in the north of the island, and I managed not only to see the pair diving and catching a fish, but also seeing off a passing white-tailed eagle!