Arctic Tern

Sterna paradisaea

I have not photographed birds much in the UK, primarily because of lack of time. When I have searched for birds though, they have been extremely skittish, perhaps because of fairly regular hunting and the lack of woods, so I have found them extremely difficult to photograph. However, I visited the small northern Scottish town of Brora in July 2010, and found a colony of breeding Arctic Terns by the famous golf links. This spot is an established nesting ground for them. They are the longest migratory bird in the world, and at the end of the breeding season they will fly to the Antarctic to spend the summer in the southern hemisphere.

In June 2013, I returned to Brora for another glorious week of links golf at one of my favourite golfing destinations with two of my best friends, Tim Walton and Dr. Ho-min Lim. Brora golf course has been on top of the list of courses that Tim and I have played over the years, and we know Ho-min will add this area, especially Brora itself, to his list of favourites. Incidentally, the golf course is a James Braid designed gem and is also the great Peter Thomson's favourite links course.

Ho-min and I managed to combine golf with some birding, but I had left my best camera and lenses at home, thinking I would have little energy left after battling the winds in northern Scotland, and wanting to travel light. I have learnt my lesson and should never leave home without them! We kept our distance and stayed behind the wooden railings, but the birds were curious enough about us to venture fairly closely for quite decent shots in flight.