18 August 2020
Gordon Muir - Wildlife along the Tay

Tonight, we were treated to a magnificent selection of photographs by Gordon Muir featuring wildlife along the banks of the Tay reaching to Woody Island and the River Almond. Gordon is Head Chef at Perth College UHI and is part of the team who work directly with students to deliver on the job training as part of their course work.

The enforced lockdown due to the current pandemic has given him additional time to pursue one of his passionate hobbies, amateur photography, the other main one being St Johnstone FC! As this was the first time he had presented his photographs to a “live” audience, Gordon advised he was a little nervous. However, this proved to be ill founded as he showed spectacular picture after picture of birds and animals some of which many of us never realised were on our doorstep, or should that be riverbank, such as ospreys, foxes and even wild mink!

Explaining he was someone with little patience, except with his photography, he regularly gets up at 4.00am when wildlife abounds and humans don’t then adds “it’s the best time of day.” Starting at the View Point at the foot of the High Street, we see otters catching their breakfast, followed upstream by a magnificent salmon which was quickly photographed by Gordon before being released by the proud angler.

Moving further upriver, there are outstanding photographs of mallard ducks, cormorants and a seal looking for its next meal, with a heron, buzzard and kestrel all taken at the Nature Pond on the North Inch golf course. Next up is a selection of the various birds that frequent the area, such as wrens, swans, yellow hammers, sparrow hawks, oyster catchers, sand martins, robins, coal tits and goldcrests, which are the smallest birds in the UK. Two spectacular shots follow with an osprey catching a fish and a goosander midstream with 5 chicks on its back, called a “goosander taxi” by Gordon.

Woody Island is next featured where we are shown stunning pictures of otters, beavers, deer and an inquisitive fox out for its morning meal, a photograph Gordon feels is one of the best he has ever taken. Also in this area and towards the River Almond, we see an array of more birds including swans, sandpipers, dippers, skylarks, woodpeckers and kingfishers, which he states  are one of his favourites. In what he describes as a “marmite” opinion on the mammals, he shows photographs of a wild mink and a grey squirrel, but finishes his outstanding pictorial presentation with a magnificent shot of, yes, a kingfisher!

In conclusion, Gordon thanked Steve Norris for setting up the presentation and said that luck played a huge part in getting good quality photographs of all the wildlife he has been fortunate to capture. Those watching were hugely impressed by his skills indicating he was being far too modest and the word “amateur” was very much a misnomer!

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