David Adam Gallery
David Adam ..... Scottish creative artist ...... author of Wildsketch ..... social realist in Postcard from Brechin
Studio and Wildsketch journal
Studio and Wildsketch journal
The thought had crossed my mind, like many other vapid thoughts that come and go into oblivion, that no bird would be flying around the glen in this foul weather of severe gales and sleety rain, but that thought was proven wanting. As my legs buckled under the blasting, blasted wind a big bird appeared behind me and we both did a topsy-turvy dance to the wind's unbalanced tune as eyes remotely met. In unexpected awe I gazed, and the eagle peered back from behind a butcher's beak and outstretched neck, then turned with the wind as lashed feathers embraced aeronautical defeat.
Huge, coffin plank wings collapsed then spread again, and again, as the wind grew more vicious in its determination to wreak havoc on anything that dared to share its wild glory. The young White-tailed Eagle was brave, and brazenly masterful as every feather found purpose in its existence. Hungered desperation had forced flight into the glen to search for carrion scraps, maybe like the cast off Red Deer stag's hooves surgically bladed from the carcass by a successful deer stalk earlier in the week on this shooting estate.
A small herd of Red Deer, that seemed to favour one craggy location in the upper part of the glen (featured previously in Call of the Wild), is now missing the harem master stag and I presume that the four leggy hooves that I found nearby belonged to his royal lordship, a fine beast indeed he was. The hinds last week were content to let me pass without panic, but now they scatter with the lesson of the bullet learnt. As the stalking season progresses the beasts seem to get wiser and an approach is spotted miles off by savvy hinds that bolt at the slightest cause.
I have found that the female gender of the species in eagles is more cautiously bashful than the male, and on many occasions the male eagles of our two species will investigate my presence by flying overhead without fear. The male White-tailed Eagle is especially bold and no doubt this behaviour formed a factor in the bird's demise in Britain, being an easy shot from below. A male was seen in this glen during March of this year (featured previously in A Friend Indeed) and I can only hope that, eventually, a maturing pair will bond to nest locally despite the possible persecuting interference from those who have economic fears about these eagles being present ..... say no more!
During a time back in 2012-13 a White-tailed Eagle's nest was destroyed by felling the tree that it was built in, but any culpability was not proven. The displaced female eagle and new mate later built a nest elsewhere, but her original mate mysteriously disappeared. Mike Groves and I were fortunate to discover this new productive nest, the first in Angus and a successful end result for a project initiated by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
The glen gargoyle, as always, was in command and ushered forth a deluge of clear highland water from the storm and this source was reputedly used for distilling the finest whisky that was sold clandestinely in Brechin many years ago. Today the hoof prints of the deer stalker's Garron are still on the ground, filled with squelching water as I pass, and I ponder a thought that things never really change in the glen ..... for these ghostly hoof prints could well have been left by the whisky bootlegger's pony two hundred years ago ..... ah, the highland economy is aye changing.
All text, photographs and sketches done on the 1 November 2020 and subject to copyright - no reproduction.
My othe pages;
David Adam Sketchbook
David Adam Gallery
My new book 'Wildsketch' is available from Blurb bookshop
Income from book sales will form a donation to CABS (Committee Against Bird Slaughter)
If you are inspired to go out into the hills and glens of Scotland please leave it as you find it, respect the environment, do not litter or discard so called 'biodegradable' fruit and especially if you are a dog walker keep your beast on a lead and do not bag up its waste then chuck it by the wayside. I recently came across one black poo bag neatly hung on a tree branch for someone else to take home and also a bright blue one thrown in the moorland verge .... why?
Moorland birds like Curlew, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Dotterel, Red and Black Grouse, Ptarmigan and many raptors nest on the ground, it is advisable to keep dogs at heel or preferably on leads when walking on the high plateaux of the Cairngorms during summer months.
Please be aware that it is illegal to disturb nesting eagles or other raptors and you may do so inadvertently in your journeys into the highlands. Observe protected species at a respectful distance usually from about 1000 metres and for short periods of time only.
No wildlife was unduly or knowingly disturbed by my presence or for the purposes of this web page other than what would be expected on a normal hill walk. Many geographic names and location recognizable photos have been omitted to prevent persecution or inquisitive disturbance to named species.
Canon camera 200D with optical zoom lens EFS 55-250mm used; please note that the zoom range distance if given is calculated by OS map from subject location to camera.