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Crow with mussel, Ythan Estuary

Crow flying with mussel taken at Ythan Estuary, Scotland.

Crow flying with mussel taken at Ythan Estuary, Scotland.

Carrion crows (Corvus corone)  are part of the corvidae family and are regarded as being highly intelligent. I have been observing their behaviour at the River Ythan nature reserve and recently documented them breaking the shells of mussels prior to extracting the meat to consume.

Crow picking mussel from Ythan Estuary at low tide.

Crow picking mussel from Ythan Estuary at low tide.

Crow flying with mussel before releasing it.

Crow flying with mussel before releasing it.

Crow dropping mussel from a height.

Crow dropping mussel from a height.

Similarly, to behaviour observed by thrushes they fly to a height with the mussel before dropping it onto a hard surface. In this case a concrete pier. They repeat the process until the mussel shell breaks. Whereupon they can hold onto the mussel with their feet and extract the meat using their bill.

Crow manipulating a mussel with a broken shell to extract the meat.

Crow manipulating a mussel with a broken shell to extract the meat.

Although common in many parts of the UK I find them challenging to photograph as they take are incredibly quick to fly if they register your presence. Presumably due to years of persecution and their innate intelligence.

 

Crow eating mussel at Ythan Estuary, Scotland.

Crow eating mussel at Ythan Estuary, Scotland.

Their ‘flighty’ behaviour coupled with their interesting behaviours are both fascinating and rewarding when you photograph them.

99% Lifestyle - Icarus Owen - Creative Recommendations Newsletter

Hello

Pleased to announce that my photography is discussed in the ‘Creative Recommendations Newsletter’ of a magazine entitled ‘’99% Lifestyle’’ . The newsletter is published each week.

The aim of which is to:

‘’ take a creative or entrepreneur, give you some insight into what they do and look at their favourite recommendations. It’s a fantastic way to receive a curated list of the worlds best and newest products, tools and pieces of entertainment’’

Icarus  Jason  Owen  - 99% Lifestyle Newsletter

Icarus Jason Owen - 99% Lifestyle Newsletter

Conor Rees , the founder of 99% Lifestyle, asked some questions on my influences and interests to which I replied.

Regards

Icarus

Monochrome Image Exhibit – Coppa Coffee

Monochrome Image Exhibit - Icarus Owen

Monochrome Image Exhibit - Icarus Owen

Monochrome Image Exhibit – Coppa Coffee, 40 St Swithin St, Aberdeen

Pleased to announce that some of my monochrome images are being exhibited at Coppa Coffee, Aberdeen.

The images are part of on-going projects focussing on the north east coast of Scotland and Assynt, Sutherland.

Each image is available as a limited edition and printed to the finest quality on archival paper by professional printers.

Red Squirrels, Aberdeenshire

Red squirrel leaping onto log, Aberdeenshire.

Red squirrel leaping onto log, Aberdeenshire.

Excuse the oxymoron but I am becoming moderately obsessed with red squirrels. Fast, agile, charismatic and often found in tricky lighting conditions make them beguilingly difficult to shoot. However the sense of achievement of capturing a shot with such an iconic species is well worth the effort.

The shot above was taken just as the squirrel was about to jump onto the tree trunk. I had noticed that this was one of several routes favoured by the squirrels and thus positioned myself appropriately.

Two red squirrels chasing each other. Bark debris thrown up from their feet.

Two red squirrels chasing each other. Bark debris thrown up from their feet.

When photographing wildlife it is imperative to observe closely their movements, interactions and behaviour as this increases your likelihood of being at the right place at the right time. With a species as industrious and lively as red squirrels the time spent observing is a pleasure in itself.

Red squirrel about to jump in dappled woodland light.

Red squirrel about to jump in dappled woodland light.

The image above demonstrates difficult lighting conditions that can be found when photographing in woodland. The dappled light through the tree canopy casts light and shadow areas. With luck, observation and patience a subject can frame itself within the light.  

North East Coast - The Barn, Foveron


North East Coast - The Barn, Foveron - April 2018

Pleased to announce that images from my ‘North East Coast' collection can now be viewed at the Barn, Foveron. The images are part of an on-going project focussing on the coast of Scotland. Each image is available as a limited edition and printed to the finest quality on archival paper by professional printers.
 

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Arctic terns - Isle of May, Scotland

Famed for its seabird colonies including kittiwake, puffin, guillemots, razorbills, shags and terns, the Isle of May is a wonderful location to photograph seabirds. A large colony of terns nest at the jetty at which visitors disembark. Adult birds nest in small hollows on the ground and any intrusion is met with uproar, swooping and calling loudly they will on occasion defecate on interlopers or strike their heads.

Arctic tern sitting on nest in the rain protecting chick, Isle of May, Scotland.

Arctic tern sitting on nest in the rain protecting chick, Isle of May, Scotland.

Arctic tern chicks are typically fed with small fish which appear to vary in size depending on the size of the chick.

Young arctic tern chick being fed small fish.

Young arctic tern chick being fed small fish.

Arctic tern chick being fed large fish by parent, Isle of May, Scotland.

Arctic tern chick being fed large fish by parent, Isle of May, Scotland.

Chicks are fed constantly even when wet.

Chicks are fed constantly even when wet.

As soon as possible chicks begin to test their wings and develop their strength.

Arctic tern chick strengthening wings in the rain.

Arctic tern chick strengthening wings in the rain.

Young arctic tern chick testing wings.

Young arctic tern chick testing wings.

As the chicks strengthen their flight muscles and gain coordination the adults are constantly catching food and bonding.

Kleptoparasitism on the Isle of May, Scotland

During July I was privileged to spend a week on the Isle of May,  a National Nature Reserve owned by Scottish Natural Heritage. The weather was typically mixed during my stay with periods of intense sunshine intermingled with drab grey skies and the occasional heavy rain shower. All of which made for exciting and varied photographic opportunities.

The puffins, for which the island is perhaps most well-known and certainly gain the majority of visitor attention, are regularly attacked by herring gulls and black backed gulls as they carry fish back to their burrows in which they feed their young, known as ‘pufflings’. Kleptoparsitism (parasitism by theft) is the term used to describe this behaviour. The puffins are physically assaulted so that they release their catch which is summarily consumed. Occasionally a black backed gull will predate a puffin, killing it.

Puffin (Fratercula arctica) caught whilst flying by a black backed gul in to attempt to steal its food. 

Puffin (Fratercula arctica) caught whilst flying by a black backed gul in to attempt to steal its food. 

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When attacked on the ground the puffins attempt to escape as best they can either by running away or seeking refuge in a burrow.

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The puffins can outrun the herring and black backed gulls and seek the refuge of their burrows.

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Herring gull and black backed gull fight on the Isle of May Scotland to assert dominance over an area with puffin burrows so that they can undertake kleptoparasitism of the puffins.

Scotland’s North East Coast: Monochrome Collection - WASP Studios, Aberdeen

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‘Scotland’s North East Coast: Monochrome Collection’.

I am pleased to announce that I will be displaying a series of images at:

Photoghost Wasp Studios, Langstane Place, Aberdeen, AB11 6EN.

The images are part of an ongoing theme depicting the north east coast of Scotland.

The exhibition opens Tuesday 27th June

 Photoghost offers photographers and other visual artists a local, friendly and professional photographic, fine art printing and developing service. With passion for both analogue and digital media. 

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Scotland's North East Coast: A Photographic Exhibition

I am pleased to announce that I shall be exhibiting a series of monochrome images of the north east coast of Scotland, alongside my friend Douglas Weir, entitled ‘Scotland’s North East Coast: A Photographic Collaboration’.

The exhibition is curated by Grampian Hospital Arts Trust (GHAT) and shall be hosted at The Small Gallery, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. Opening at 18:30 – 20:00 hrs on Wednesday 19th April it shall run to Friday 2nd June.