Merlin – Bird Hide Photography

Working under license on species protected by law

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have access to and experience of such fascinating species as Red-throated diver and Merlin, which are protected by law and can only be photographed under a schedule 1 license. Furthermore I consider it a privilege to be trusted with licenses (which I have been working under for several years now) by Scottish Natural Heritage as a naturalist and photographer with an understanding and respect for wildlife that ensures I work responsibly.

When I first set out to work on these very special assignments I sought advice from various sources of expertise from field ornithologists, conservation organisations and nature photographers and local land owners. It was imperative for me to build on the knowledge I had from those who knew the birds best. A ‘trial and error’ approach was not an option.

I have several years of experience now working with hides under these licenses over which time my confidence in (and understanding of) their behaviour has expanded and in turn so too has the trust from relevant authorities. Through this I am now very proud to be able to offer the very unique, specialist and exhilarating opportunity for photographers to work on them. To my knowledge, when my license was granted in 2013 to have guests under my supervision work on assignment, there was no other company authorised to offer such an assignment.

Please note – These licensed bird-hide/species assignments are on a strictly supervised and exclusively ‘one-to-one’ basis only.

Merlin at nesting site

Governed by the same sensitivities as Red-throated Diver and perhaps even more so, I avoid Merlins until the chicks are hatched and parents are feeding chicks. Merlins are notoriously sensitive before and during egg laying and incubation but again as with divers, once feeding chicks they are much more settled.

To avoid regular visits to these breeding sites I offer only a limited number of slots per summer. Furthermore, to keep hide visits to a minimum, I take only one photographer, for one day to a site.

Season – late April into mid-May and again from late June to early August
Cost – £300 per day/session (under guidance)

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