Photographing Ospreys at Rothiemurchus

Rothiemurchus welcomes Osprey Photographers. For the “natural” shot enjoy our guided, early morning and evening photographic trips to our carefully designed loch side hides within the Fishery.

Fully guided, early morning and evening photographic trips to our loch side hides within the Fishery. Our wildlife guide will enable the experienced and skilled photographer with the opportunity to photograph Ospreys at close quarters, with field craft advice available from our experienced guide, prior to your arrival and on the day.

Description

The Exclusive sessions are crafted around the weather conditions which are constantly monitored in order to assist you with the best opportunity to photograph these challenging wild birds within the stunning environment of Rothiemurchus. As you will understand though, due to the nature of wildlife we cannot guarantee the opportunity.

When you photograph Ospreys from our loch side hides you are caring for these iconic birds as well as other rare wildlife. The income helps support our specialist Rothiemurchus team who work so hard throughout the year to safeguard nature and enable endangered species to thrive.

"Best place in the world to watch ospreys fishing at close quarters"

Simon King, OBE, LLD, HonFRPS, HonFBNA

“I must have watched and photographed hundreds of dives and still find it one of the most exhilarating wildlife experiences anywhere.”

Neil McIntyre, Category  winner in Wildlife Photographer of Year Awards and in the British Wildlife Photography Awards

Go to the Testimonials tab below to read more...

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General Information

Online booking is available up to 6 months in advance if you are interested in booking a session on a date more than 6 months in advance please call 01479 812345.

Contact us on 01479 812345 or email photography@rothie.net if you would like to discuss the sessions before booking. You are welcome to visit the Fishery beforehand to familiarise yourself with the surrounding before your early morning start!

The Fishery is open from the 1st of April to mid-August, depending when the birds arrive and are settled, feeding regularly until they migrate. For more information on this year’s Osprey migration see  http://www.roydennis.org/animals/raptors/osprey/.

Guided dawn sessions are available 7 days a week, advance booking is essential as is providing your own equipment. Groups meet at the Fishery 10 minutes before the session starts, early morning times vary as they begin at first light.

Our hides have all been built specifically to photograph Ospreys fishing; we are continually learning and adapting them.  They are all low level and the pond has been raised.  The two oldest hides each have four places and the two newer fives places in each hide.  We are planning to build at least one new very low level hide for this season to enable more certainty that whatever the wind direction you can capture a head on shot of a diving Osprey.

Getting Here

Rothiemurchus Fishery is beside the river Spey just across the bridge from Aviemore. If you are coming by car, at the South entrance to Aviemore roundabout take the turning to Coylumbridge, Glenmore and Cairngorm (brown signs to Rothiemurchus), cross the River Spey and
the entrance to the Fishery is immediately on the left. More information is available on the How to Get Here page if you are coming by another mode of transportation.

There is also excellent public transport with frequent bus and train links into Aviemore from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and Inverness. It is then a 7-minute walk from the railway station, cross the lines by the pedestrian bridge, turn right, pass The Old Bridge Inn then turn left across the old iron bridge, follow the old road for 50 yds. and the Fishery is just on the left.

Early season: April – May 2020

£95.00 pp guided morning: first light – 9.00am, with optional complimentary unguided day sessions (see below) if an Osprey does not hit the water during the guided early morning guided session

£180.00pp for two consecutive guided early mornings: first light – 9.00am, with optional complimentary unguided day sessions (see below) if an Osprey does not hit the water during the guided early morning guided session

£65.00 pp unguided evening: 16.45 – dusk*

£50.00 pp unguided day:  9.30 – 16.30

* unguided evening sessions are only available to customers already booked onto guided
early morning session/s

Peak season June – August 2020

£145.00 guided early morning first light – 9.00am, with optional complimentary unguided day sessions if an Osprey does not hit the water during the guided early morning session

£245.00 for two consecutive guided early mornings: first light- 9.00, with optional complimentary unguided day sessions (see below) if an Osprey does not hit the water during the guided early morning guided session

For three or more consecutive guided early mornings please contact: photography@rothie.net

£145.00 guided evening: 16.45 – dusk

£75.00 unguided evening: 16.30 – dusk*

£65.00 unguided day: 10.00 – 16.30

* unguided evening sessions are only available to customers already booked onto guided
early morning session/s 

Payments

Full payment on booking, Credit Card (not Amex), BACS or cheque. 

Changes and cancellations

We need at least 24 hours’ notice of a change or a cancellation to receive a full refund. 

Who are the guides?

Our guides are chosen because of their keen interest in wildlife and they are enjoying meeting other naturalists, even at first light. They are here to advise photographers on what to expect, ensure that the fish are content, Osprey are not attracted to other parts of the fishery and to alert you by radio to a bird approaching or flying overhead so that you are ready to take the picture; they leave the photography to you.

How long is each session?

Early morning sessions last from first light till 9.00am.

Evening guided sessions last from 16.45 until dusk.

Day sessions last from 10.00 until 16.45.

How many dives can I expect during a morning session?

These are wild birds, nothing can be guaranteed.  The unexpected is part of the experience; dives vary from 1 up to 8 on a typical morning. On occasions, dives can reach double figures.

What species of fish do they catch?

Rothiemurchus Fishery is stocked with excellent Rainbow Trout.  We use live trout for Osprey photography, both for the quality of the picture and bio-security to protect the welfare of the fish and wildlife.

What happened if no bird hit the water during a guided early morning session?

You have the option of a complimentary unguided day or evening session preferably to be taken the same day. The must be used the same week and cannot be rolled over to the following month or year.  Please do not expect another free session.

What lenses are best?

DSLR or Mirrorless system with a lens in the region of 300mm minimum and up to a maximum of 500mm based on a full-frame camera.

Have no more than the length of the lens hood protruding from the hide.

What other equipment is recommended?

A tripod, beanbag or head plate is recommended, hand holding is not.

What clothes do I wear?

Even in summer, it can get cold in the hide as you are sitting for long periods, so it is best to layer up clothing.

Be prepared

Remember these are wild birds – be ready, keep checking camera settings and stay alert.

You will be warned when an Osprey is approaching or overhead but remember they have extraordinary eyesight so it is important to keep still, have no more than the length of the lens hood protruding from the hide and be ready for the moment.

Ospreys preparing to dive is an exhilarating, exciting experience even for the most experienced photographer and it is easier to stay calm if you are prepared and ready. 

Is there any other wildlife to photograph?

Herons and Mallard and if you’re very lucky the occasional Kingfisher.
At Loch an Eilein there are Red Squirrel and Bird Feeders which regularly attract Crested Tits and Coal Tits.

More questions or advice

Please feel free to text for a call back for more details on 07827 011780 or email us on
photography@rothie.net.

Good Luck; we hope you have an enjoyable and productive visit

 

Nowhere else in the British Isles are the history and fortunes of the osprey more inextricably linked to a place than those birds that frequent the Rothiemurchus estate. For well over one hundred years the Grant family have been instrumental in the successful return of these magnificent birds to the UK as a breeding bird, and nowhere else are you more likely to have an unforgettable encounter with one as it plunges to snatch a fish.

This has been my ‘go to’ spot for filming and photographing ospreys hunting for decades – and it just keeps getting better. Of course, part of the magic is held in the fact that these are wild birds and it is at their will that one waits for the chance of an encounter. But let me tell you, if lady luck is smiling on you and you have an osprey hitting the water at eye level before you only 10 or 15 mores away, it ranks as one of the wildlife wonders of the world. Indeed, even if you are not trying to get a photograph of this magnificent bird, it is well worth simply waiting, watching and thrilling at the phenomenon. 

  • – Simon King, OBE, LLD, HonFRPS, HonFBNA

I have been lucky enough to have been involved with the Rothiemurchus Ospreys for over 6 years , I must have  watched and photographed hundreds of dives and still find it one of the most exhilarating wildlife experiences anywhere. To witness this magnificent bird dive and plunge into the water 10-15 metres away then fly past you with a wriggling trout is extremely special and I have to say very addictive.

For the photographer, what makes the difference at Rothiemurchus is the low level hides giving you virtually a water-level eyes view of the action. This perspective gives a unique viewpoint and the potential for stunning images. The backgrounds are hugely important and this has been taken into consideration at Rothiemurchus.  When using the correct lens and settings you can isolate the Osprey from its surroundings, making it stand out even more. Combine that with the low angle position and you have the perfect combination to achieve some superb pictures. It’s never easy and patience is often rewarded.  

They are wild birds, and there are many things which are out with anyone’s control that can dictate whether they fish or not. Dives will vary but that is part of the challenge, if you truly want to be a wildlife photographer you have to understand and accept that aspect. However, when it does happen you will never forget that moment, such is the spectacle, you will have witnessed something that is a rare privilege. I have taken possibly thousands of  Ospreys images,  and have many that I am delighted with, but I still have not got THE shot, close but still not quite there. So I will keep trying and one day it will happen. Even if you do the Rothiemurchus Ospreys just the once and get some dives it will be a memorable magic experience. 

  • – Neil McIntyre, Category  winner in Wildlife Photographer of Year Awards and in the British Wildlife Photography Awards

 

Thank you

When you photograph Ospreys from our loch side hides you are caring for these iconic birds as well as other rare wildlife.  The income helps support our specialist Rothiemurchus team who work so hard throughout the year to safeguard nature and enable endangered species to thrive.

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